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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-can't-tell-up-from-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an attempt to keep you from having to explain to your crazy relatives that despite what they read, Vice President Biden *didn't* get a grow light delivered to the White House under a fake name, Facebook is testing a "satire" tag on news feeds. A Facebook representative issued the following statement to Ars Technica: "We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."
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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

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  • by Livius (318358) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:35PM (#47691171)

    ...than it eliminates. Every time a politician opens their mouth, there will a headline tagged 'satire', and then they'll complain that Facebook is misrepresenting what they said, and then someone will have to explain to the politician what 'satire' actually means.

    For example, every 'security' measure of the TSA is a cruel satire, but they are also actual rules that people are really subject to.

    • All politics is a joke, until you get whacked on the head with it. I mean what kind of insanity will force you to smile even when you want to strangle the guy you're smiling/shaking hands with?

    • by WillKemp (1338605)

      No way! There are things on Facebook that aren't satire?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In other news, The Onion is testing a new Serious tag to be used for non- satirical articles.

  • Says who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:35PM (#47691177) Homepage Journal

    And who determines if the content at that URL is satirical in nature? Facebook? Looks like they've merely added that "tag" for all URLs from the Onion.

    • by leuk_he (194174)

      And failed to do so for De Speld [facebook.com] (dutch kind of union)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      if (url.indexOf("www.onion.com")!=-1) {tag("satire");}

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And who determines if the content at that URL is satirical in nature? Facebook? Looks like they've merely added that "tag" for all URLs from the Onion.

      Let's face it, the Onion is a well known satyrical news site and there is no real confusion about it's satyrical nature for most open minded people with a well developed sense of humor. However conservatives, being rather closed minded and prone to panicking, seem to be unable to tell the difference between satyrical news sites like the Onion and real news. What originally tipped the scales and caused Facebook to launch this project was an incident during the Bush administration where the administration spe

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Looks like they've merely added that "tag" for all URLs from the Onion.

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of sites who are trying to be like the Onion, but with bad intentions and an ugly agenda. And no talent for satire, which is a problem when you're trying to create a satire site. (e.g., "Guns'N'Butter" and "The People's Cube"). And as we well know, there are people stupid enough to believe whatever they see on the Internet.

      (*Never mind about Guns'N'Butter. It looks like they went off the air for sucking

  • by Sigvatr (1207234)
    PLEASE DONT
  • Some people are too stupid to breathe. Or breed.
    • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:52PM (#47691291) Homepage Journal

      Some people are too stupid to breathe. Or breed.

      The stupid people appear to breed quite well. It's the neckbeards with the Cheetos-stained fingers that are unsucessful at breeding.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Some people are too stupid to breathe. Or breed.

        The stupid people appear to breed quite well. It's the neckbeards with the Cheetos-stained fingers that are unsucessful at breeding.

        It is a good thing that intelligence is not determined by genetics (pairing two geniuses wont produce a savant, its been tried before).

        • by Dragon Bait (997809) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @09:17PM (#47691911)

          It is a good thing that intelligence is not determined by genetics.

          Citation needed --- and not to a stupid failed experiment that drew the wrong conclusion.

          Yes. I know. It's politically incorrect to think that intelligence does have a genetic component. My anecdotal examples certainly leads my belief that there is a causal relationship.

          And no. I'm not saying that genetics is everything; nor am I saying that all children of two intelligent people are intelligent. Anyone who has even the simplest understanding of genetics knows that not all children of brown haired parents have brown hair. But only someone who has baked their brain in a politically correct stew would think there is no genetic component.

          • by quenda (644621)

            It is a good thing that intelligence is not determined by genetics.

            Citation needed --- and not to a stupid failed experiment that drew the wrong conclusion.

            I think the GP was being ironic. Pretty sure, but if only there were some markup convention, some HTML tag equivalent to a sarcastic voice tone ...

            Or we could just put a woosh tag on the parent post ... unless I am missing Dragon Bait's sarcam? Damn this written communication.

            • p>I think the GP was being ironic.

              Part of the problem is that no matter how stupid a position someone will honestly believe in it.

          • by m00sh (2538182)

            It is a good thing that intelligence is not determined by genetics.

            Citation needed --- and not to a stupid failed experiment that drew the wrong conclusion.

            Yes. I know. It's politically incorrect to think that intelligence does have a genetic component. My anecdotal examples certainly leads my belief that there is a causal relationship.

            And no. I'm not saying that genetics is everything; nor am I saying that all children of two intelligent people are intelligent. Anyone who has even the simplest understanding of genetics knows that not all children of brown haired parents have brown hair. But only someone who has baked their brain in a politically correct stew would think there is no genetic component.

            IQ has some heritability. However, intelligence can mean anything. If you measure intelligence by IQ, you are right. If you measure intelligence by achievements, then the original poster is right.

        • Well that's not entirely true because of the way genes mix up (the whole idea of dominance and inheritance). This is what might allow two brown haired brunettes to have a blue eyed blonde child: the brown eyes and brown hair is dominant, and when the bits of the couple is mixed, you get two recessive traits (blonde hair / blue eyes).

          Of course it's not even so simple as dominant / recessive because genes mix about in all kinds of other ways. So getting a true breeding pair from just one generation of peopl

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        . It's the neckbeards with the Cheetos-stained fingers that are unsucessful at breeding.

        Yeah, well someday, there are going to be millions of mutant Kleenex rising up to be our overlords.

        (I don't know, something about all the DNA put there by geeks, you know? So go make up your own goddamn jokes.)

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Some people are too stupid to breathe. Or breed.

      Rural Florida disagrees.

    • And they forward satire as news to their too-stupid-to-breathe friends, and it becomes this whole big thing.

      If you were the largest social media site, wouldn't you just throw up your hands one day and say "Fine, if they can't tell the difference, we'll just tag everything from The Onion with a satire tag"?

      I know I would. And I wouldn't want to send the message that "you're too stupid to tell the difference", so I would do it with internal tests, then small public tests.

      So what happened here is first line t

      • by gander666 (723553) *
        So you agree with me? I fucking repost shit from Christians for Michelle Bachmann, a site that is so fucking over the top satire, that you have to be a fucking moron to not realize that. Alas, a lot (not a few, but fucking A LOT) of people can't figure that out. You think that Facebook using an automatic satire tag will help? The Fox News crowd will have kittens.
  • by Ayars (875441)
    It's a sad commentary on society that this is necessary. Where did we go wrong? Sure... "Facebook", but I think it goes back further than that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Where did we go wrong? Sure... "Facebook", but I think it goes back further than that.

      Indeed. [wikipedia.org] In other contexts it goes much further back, but for the internet, September 1993 has never been recovered from.

  • I'm guessing they're implementing this after The Huffington Post ran that article months ago confusing the difference between what a "Terms of Service" is compared to "App Permissions" in regards to the Facebook Mobile Messenger. Now any "News" site that talks ill of Facebook will be labeled "SATIRE"! Perfection. This is ingenious marketing on Facebook's part! Now they'll never look bad ever again!

  • I recently "Liked" a friends share from TheLadBible on Facebook and now my home page feed is NSFW.
    Just can't bring myself to Un-Liking it. ;)

  • by grcumb (781340) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:42PM (#47691245) Homepage Journal

    [satire]That's a fucking brilliant idea! I really really really mean it. Sincerely.

    But don't forget the [lies-all-lies], [am-i-boring-you-yet], [pandering-listery], [corporate-shilling] and [too-stupid-even-for-you] prefixes.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:43PM (#47691251)

    Perhaps Slashdot could implement a [Facebook] tag for articles about or originating from [Facebook]?

  • ... if you nest [satire]...[/satire] content?

  • Can't Fix Stupid (Score:4, Informative)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:50PM (#47691281) Homepage Journal

    They will think that satires are some kind of automobile wheel.

  • Why the ridicule? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:03PM (#47691349)

    Sometimes satire is obvious, sometimes it isn't. In the latter cases, you have to be familiar with the source or familiar with background information. When you are talking about a medium that supports a profound number of sources, it can be difficult to judge whether a source that you are not familiar with is satirical. When you are talking about a medium that can deliver news from all parts of the world from varying perspectives, it can be difficult to have the necessary background information to judge whether a portrayal is satirical. Sites like Facebook only compound that problem because it is not a news site in the traditional sense, nor is it a news aggregator. It is simply a site where people post links, links that may be informative or may be whimsical based upon their mood. Making matters worse, a lot of people don't even know their Facebook "friends" particularly well, which makes it means that you can't even use the source of the link as a guage.

    While I do have deep concerns about how Facebook would go about vetting links, I can understand why some people would see this as a valuable feature.

    • The problem is their algorithm has to be close to perfect or it makes things worse. Once people begin to trust the label, they'll fall harder for the stories that the algorithm misses.

      I don't think Literally Unbelievable [literallyu...evable.org] has anything to worry about.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Sometimes satire is obvious, sometimes it isn't.

      Why Doesn't America Read Anymore? [npr.org]
      April 01, 2014

      Congratulations, genuine readers, and happy April Fools' Day!

      We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven't actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let's see what people have to say about this "story."

      Best wishes and have an enjoyable day,

      Your friends at NPR

      As you might expect, a lot of people commented on that without clicking through.

      I consider satire to be something of a public service.
      If you don't bother to check the source of your information,
      you deserve the embarrassment (or misinformation) that follows.

      TLDR: Credulity is not a virtue.

    • While I agree with your points about Facebook not being a News site, or a News aggregate site, who is providing the tag for satire? Facebook already sorts news it does not like away from people, and has been caught blocking content they don't like. If Facebook controls the tag then this will just be another tool for censorship, it's not even a question.

      If a user chooses to label a post with said said tag, I have no issue with that. I personally would not use such a tag even if I used facebook (have not b

    • A "seriously" tag should also exist. It's not the satire that's problematic--it's the real news that is so absurd it seems to be satire. This pops up with amazing frequency.

    • I understand the point of Facebook when I remember that most people are too stupid to understand any satire. That said, the problem with the idea is who will score the news as satires and with what objectives.
  • Daily Currant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cowclops (630818) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:12PM (#47691391)

    I just wish people would stop linking to Daily Currant articles. Their version of "Satire" is posting articles that aren't funny, but ARE plausible, just to incite a reaction. Its not like The Onion where the humor is usually right in the headline.

    I wouldn't have a problem with it if they were skilled writers and I cracked up laughing while reading the article. Except its crap like "Sarah Palin: âEat Less Chinese Foodâ(TM) to Reduce Trade Deficit" or "Hilary: I'm running!"

    I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah Palin said something like that, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hilary Clinton was running for president. Except there's no humor in fabricating plausible stories.

    • I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah Palin said something like that, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hilary Clinton was running for president. Except there's no humor in fabricating plausible stories.

      They are designed to basically confirm people's existing biases. "Well, she would say something like that, she's so stupid." That she inconveniently didn't is no barrier anymore.

      They are designed to bash, not to be funny.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      Yeah, there are too many click-bait hoax sites that justify themselves by calling it "satire".

    • by sootman (158191)

      Another plausible but false story: "Slashdot to start supporting ÃUnicodeÃ(TM) characters"

  • This is the new media. Clearly label satire; obfuscate native advertising.

  • What a complete waste of time and resources to be developing for stupid people..
  • East end subway (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:45PM (#47691519)
    There are two types of people in this life, those who 'get' satire, and those who don't.

    On the east end of Long Island, NY, there's a free magazine called "Dan's Papers". A running article series has been written over two years on the subway system that connects several east end towns, from Southampton to Montauk. It's very well written, with continuous updates. say, about how the suggestion box at the Southampton station has been moved to an area where people will not bump against it anymore. And it is completely a goof. Still, I've met a few people who truly believe that an east end subway exists because, "It's in Dan's Papers! I've read all about it!" These people have asked me, with complete sincerity, if I know where the subway entrance is in their town. When I tried to tell one woman how I truly doubted that a subway exists (I didn't want to make her feel dumb), she left still sure of this subways existence. These are the same type of people who a few years back fell for the deer/lion hunt planned on the east end in order to help 'thin out the herd', another one of 'Dan's Papers' classic jokes.

    http://danspapers.com/category... [danspapers.com]

    Labeling an article as satire would take all the fun out of it for those of us who 'get it'.

    • Labeling an article as satire would take all the fun out of it for those of us who 'get it'.

      Boy have you got it wrong... it is going to be totally AWESOME to tag actual news stories with the "satire" tag, and watch the morons who believe everything they read be certain it's all fake. (Yes, I know it's not a user-generated tag, but automatic tags can still be applied since they won't judge content.)

      • by dcollins (135727)

        I have/had certain acquaintances who would fall for almost every conspiracy theory and faux-news story that came down the pipe on FB. The first thing I thought about this feature is, "Oh god, now D--- will start railing about the Facebook conspiracy to de-legitimize these critical alternative news stories."

    • Labeling an article as satire would take all the fun out of it for those of us who 'get it'.

      And for those of us who :
      - "get it"
      - value their time
      - Dont want to have their time wasted, sifting through pages of crap to find its satire.
      - Dont want the world to be full of non-sense, unlabelled crap.

      are grateful.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      I don't get any enjoyment out of seeing "the ones who don't" spreading misinformation because of it.

  • Sounds good (Score:5, Funny)

    by Indigo (2453) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:48PM (#47691531)

    Can they add a "blatant politically motivated lie" tag while they're at it?

  • ... [allegory], [hyperbole], [parody], [rhetoric], [pathos], [irony], and possibly a few others.

    • by mrego (912393)
      Great idea. Add a pun tag too. Then make it all searchable by tag type. Then they could focus on mostly science and tech news and add moderator points and change their name to some geeky unix or regexp character sequence... Mod this up insightful please.
  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:57PM (#47691563)

    Couldn't they just put a label on the sort of people who not only believe satirical news, but, outraged, spread that "news" to everyone they know.

    [Idiot] MagicBob97 shared [link].
    [Idiot] catpiss wrote "typical fukink obamu!!!!!! [link]".
    [non-idiot] sumdude wrote "uh, guys, teh onion is a satire site".
    [Idiot] imtoorealforu shared [link].

  • <SATIRE>Facebook users are so smart!</SATIRE>

  • people are, you know, to stupid to get satire on their own.

  • Never heard of that.
  • then there's no point in having satire.
  • ... That is Facebook's entire business model.
  • Like that's ever gonna work. /sarcasm
  • Won't this just lead to the tagging of the entire Internet? After all, who really wants to stand behind what they say? The number of potential misinterpretations is virtually unbounded. As I've previously mentioned on Slashdot, just the few lines I've typed here have the potential to bring out some far-out inference. There's no way I can predict what it'll be.

    So. Just tag the entire Internet as satire, not really true, nothing to get upset about, etc.

    I'm thinking that we could just hand out Mr. Yuck st

  • If you played GTA Vice City, you probably remember how utterly insane the political radio interviews were. I once posted as my status a chunk of one of those interviews, and watched people proceed to lose their shit in my general direction. If you don't realize I'm joking when you see me post, "It's simple: if you don't have a job, starve", we probably won't get along very well anyway.
  • I suppose that people who sent the petition forgot to put [satire] tag in front of it as well and now are bit scared of what they have started...

  • #proofthatoldpeoplebarelyrealizetherearejokesontheinternet #whybother

  • Finally links to infowars/Alex Jones will be marked as satire. Tired of people thinking it's real journalism or news.

  • Some of the best humor in the world is a result of idiots on Facebook not recognizing satire!

    I wish I could find one particular Facebook screenshot of a bunch of right-wingers who took the "abortionplex" article seriously. Just pure gold.

  • It is really telling how far out in lalaland this world has ventured when you need to tag satire so people don't take some absolutely way, way out in the realms of insanity at face value.

  • And it looked like a reversed question mark [wikipedia.org].

    Of course, slashdot will not support it.

  • They could just try to be funnier so people don't get confused.

  • Is this article for real? I can't tell.

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