Facebook

Facebook just got rid of the easiest way to spread fake news

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During the last US Presidential election campaign, Facebook was a hive of activity, and that included a lot of fake news being spread around. The social network faced criticism over that and is working to eliminate fake news from its feeds. The latest, and most positive move so far, is removing the ability to modify link previews.

Typically, when a Facebook user posts a link to content outside of Facebook's network, a preview is created showing the original headline, description, and image. That's how it should be and what viewers want to see before deciding to click. However, it was possible to edit that detail, meaning you could post a link from a less reputable website, but make it look like it was another, more reputable destination.

Yesterday, Facebook removed the ability to edit those previews, thus ensuring what you see before clicking a shared link is real. The only exception to this rule is publishers who still have the ability to edit previews to content on their own websites.

While this move won't get rid of fake news completely from Facebook, it's certainly going to stop a lot of it appearing there. It also greatly increases the trust Facebook will garner from its users knowing that a link they click is taking them to the destination the preview advertises.

Facebook will need to regularly review the impact this change has and how content creators react to it. For example, if the preview can't be changed on Facebook then what's to stop the website the preview content is pulled from adjusting their content to fool the preview?

The cat and mouse game with fake news will of course continue, but Facebook just removed one of the easiest methods of allowing it to exist and spread on the biggest social network in the world.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.