Facebook clamps down on fake news stories: A new study has revealed

NYC: Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it has taken steps to clamp down on “hoaxes” and fake news stories that can spread like wildfire on its 1.35-billion member online social network.

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The company said it had introduced an option to allow Facebook users to flag a story as “purposefully fake or deceitful news” to reduce the distribution of news stories reported as hoaxes. Facebook said it will not remove fake news stories from its website. Instead, the company’s algorithm, which determines how widely user posts are distributed, will take into account hoax reports.

“A post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chose to delete will get reduced distribution in the News Feed,” Facebook explained. Facebook has become an increasingly important source of news, with 30 percent of adults in the U.S. consuming news on the world’s largest social network, according to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Facebook cited stories about dinosaur sightings and research supposedly proving the existence of Santa Claus as examples of fake news stories. Facebook said “satirical” content, such as news stories “intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire,” should not be affected.

A new study has revealed that the negative relationship between Facebook use and kids’ bad grades has little to do with Facebook.

Researcher Reynol Junco of Iowa State University found that while freshman struggle to balance their use, social media is less of a problem for upper classmen and the difference relates to self-regulation. The study found that for freshmen, all Facebook use had a negative impact on their grades, for sophomores and juniors, only time spent using Facebook while doing schoolwork hurt their grade point average and for seniors, there was no relationship between the two.

It would be easy to conclude that simply spending less time on Facebook would improve a student’s GPA, but Junco cautions against rushing to that conclusion. Certain tasks on Facebook, such as sharing links and checking in with friends, were positively linked to GPA and in previous research, Junco found that tasks, such as creating or RSVP’ing to an event, were positively linked to student engagement. Junco said that it’s not just the way students are accessing the site, but the way in which they’re using the site that has an effect on academic outcomes. Students use social media to make friends and create the support network they need and if they’re committed to their social circles, then they’re also committed to their institution, and that’s a major part of academic success.

Junco added that the negative relationship between Facebook use and GPA is reflective of a broader issue, one that all students must confront when they go to college, that is, self-regulation and in that regard, Facebook use is no different than any other distraction for students. The study is published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.