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Facebook will tell users if they are about to share an old news article

Effort to help people ‘make informed decisions’ about what they share online comes following concern from news publishers.

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Move to help people ‘make informed decisions’ about what they share online comes following concern from news publishers (Facebook/PA)

Move to help people ‘make informed decisions’ about what they share online comes following concern from news publishers (Facebook/PA)

Move to help people ‘make informed decisions’ about what they share online comes following concern from news publishers (Facebook/PA)

Facebook will now alert users if an article they are about to share is old to prevent outdated news from being used to mislead.

The social network is rolling out the feature globally in response to concerns from news outlets.

Old news stories can go viral on social media years after they were first published, misconstruing the state of current events.

Some news organisations had already added prominent age labels onto their stories to prevent confusion or distortion.

Posts containing an article older than 90 days will carry a notification whenever a user clicks the share button.

The social network said this would help people “make informed decisions” about what they share.

“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share,” said John Hegeman, vice president of feed and stories at Facebook.

“Through providing more context, our goal is to make it easier for people to identify content that’s timely, reliable and most valuable to them.”

The firm is also testing other uses of notification screens over the next few months.

One such idea is for posts with links mentioning Covid-19, which would show details about the source and direct people to the authoritative health information.

PA