Facebook Slammed for New System to Rate Its Users With Hidden Trustworthiness Scale

FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

Facebook has revealed that it will start rating its users on a hidden trustworthiness scale, as part of what it says is its battle against “fake news.”

Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons told The Washington Post in an interview on Tuesday that the ratings system will seek to identify users who attempt to game the system by repeatedly reporting content they disagree with as untrue.

It’s “not uncommon for people to tell us something is false simply because they disagree with the premise of a story or they’re intentionally trying to target a particular publisher,” said Lyons.

Lyons insisted that the trustworthiness score is not meant to be an absolute indicator of a person’s credibility, but will serve as a behavioral clue for the Facebook team to monitor those who continuously flag content as problematic.

“For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true,” Lyons explained.

Several experts have spoken out about their unease at this new tool, given that users will have no way of knowing their score or disputing it.

“Not knowing how [Facebook is] judging us is what makes us uncomfortable,” said Claire Wardle, director of fact-checking company First Draft. “But the irony is that they can’t tell us how they are judging us — because if they do the algorithms that they built will be gamed.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov