Facebook tests 'satire' tag, makes the Internet slightly less confusing (and less fun)
Savvy Web users know to check the source of an article before believing if its true: If the source happens to be a website named for a certain root vegetable, odds are that it’s satire. But apparently Facebook has seen enough of having its users actually believe that your coworkers will hate you for using a standing desk, and is testing a new tag that will identify such articles as satirical.
According to Ars Technica, Facebook now flags articles from The Onion that appear in the Related Articles newsfeed box—for a small number of users, anyway—with a tag that reads “[Satire].”
The idea here seems to be to prevent satirical articles from being spread as legitimate news—and to prevent potential embarrassment from getting outraged over Vice President Biden ordering a grow light.
According to Ars Technica, the feature only appears in the Related Articles box, and not on the shared links themselves. Also, for the time being, only articles from The Onion appear to be getting this treatment: Articles from other satirical news sites don’t seem to get the Satire tag.
In a statement it provided to Ars Technica, Facebook says that it has “received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units,” and that the company has been testing this feature on a small group of users for at least a month. The company did not state whether it plans to roll out the feature to all Facebook users.
Facebook isn’t the only company that’s looking into labeling satire as such: If you search for The Onion on Google, news results from The Onion come with a similar “Satire” label.