Facebook to Combat “Fake News” with new “Click-Gap” Algorithm Signal - NoRiskSEO.com

Facebook to Combat “Fake News” with new “Click-Gap” Algorithm Signal

Facebook is using a new approach called “Click-Gap” in order to stop low quality content from spreading throughout users’ News Feed. On April 10, 2019 Facebook announced several changes to their site to help combat the spread of disinformation, which is something they’ve struggled with in recent months, especially since news broke about how Russia used targeted Facebook ads to influence the US election in 2016. Topics like vaccines, political extremism, and conspiracy theories have also run rampant on the platform and Facebook is hoping that these changes will reduce the spread of problematic content while giving users more information and control over what they want to read and share.

What is Click Gap?

If you’ve never heard this term before, it’s because Facebook invented it. It’s a signal that will be incorporated into users’ News Feed to help people see less low-quality content. The metric will analyze posts that garner a lot of clicks, likes, and shares and compare them with the rest of the Internet. If the post is only popular on Facebook and nowhere else (like Google, Reddit, or Yahoo), then that will alert Facebook that the post needs to be limited. It’s reach will be reduced to the News Feed and the prominence of the post will be lowered, which will ultimately impact the number of people who will see it.

Sounds good right? Maybe not.

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Click Gap will have a major influence on website creators and business owners

Critics of Click Gap are arguing that the signal is anti-free speech. Many people turn to Facebook to share their opinions because it’s much easier to publish a post for a large audience on social media than it is to get published in the New York Times. Facebook gives a voice to the underdog, to the little guy, which is one of the reasons so many people turn to social media; they want to express themselves to, and hear opinions from, a diverse audience of their peers. Click Gap will essentially put an end to this. If a person doesn’t have an audience outside of Facebook, they shouldn’t expect to have one inside anymore either. The problem is who generally has a large audience outside of social media? Major publications like the New York Times, CNN, etc. They are the ones who will be rewarded by this change, while smaller publications will be penalized. So freedom of speech still exists on Facebook, but only if you’re already a widely-known, well-respected website.

If a site is small and wants to stay that way, then Click Gap shouldn’t be a problem for them. But it will be for those who want to grow their site within social media, and who optimize their posts with the hopes that they’ll go viral on Facebook...which is many, many people on social media. Basically they’re being punished for getting “too good” at Facebook; they learned how to work the system to make their voices heard, and now they’re getting in trouble for it. If you think this might be you, check out this article on how to use Google Keyword Planner to create content that is sure to get you an audience outside of Facebook.

Click Gap will influence general Facebook users 

But it’s not just website creators and business owners who will see a change online; everyday users should expect to see a difference in the content they typically read as well. Click Gap is going to demote posts from pages that users have chosen to like and follow. So basically Facebook is deciding what you should and shouldn't see when you go online, and even though you’ve expressed an interest in certain topics, they think they know better.

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Western Journal Editor Shaun Hair likens the change to this example:

“Imagine going to the grocery store and loading up your cart with the items you want to buy. After carefully selecting all the things on which you want to spend your hard earned money, you head to the front of the store. There you are greeted by the store manager by the name Zark Muckerberg.

Zark informs you that despite the fact that you have chosen to purchase those items and regardless of your reason, he will perform an audit of your selections. Zark then tells you to close your eyes while he takes half of the items out of your cart — but won’t allow you to know which ones or why. 

But Zark isn’t done. He slyly grins and tells you that the store’s new click-gap policy now is going to replace some of your remaining items with more established brands. Oh, you don’t like the taste? Sorry. Enjoy a mouthful of choiceless totalitarianism. Zark promises it’s better for you anyway.”

When you put it that way, Shaun, I think I might like to decide what qualifies as “Fake News” myself. Thanks.

Choiceless totalitarianism or making the online community safer?

In defense of Facebook, however, they are trying hard to manage international content with (somewhat) limited resources. They don’t plan to leave all the hard work up to Click Gap. They have employees whose sole job is to investigate questionable and potentially harmful content, but it’s just not possible to only employ humans to do this. 2.3 billion people use Facebook worldwide; even with a content moderation team of 30,000 people, Facebook still needs some type of automation to verify what’s being shared on the platform. But they are trying- in a blog post on the subject they stated that “[they’ve] grown [their] third-party fact-checking program to include 45 certified fact-checking partners who review content in 24 languages.”

What do you think?

Improving the quality of content shared on social media, especially on a site as prominent as Facebook, is definitely an important issue. But is click-gap only going to penalize small businesses while making it easier for the ideas of larger publications to dominate? Or is it the answer we’ve been waiting for in order to cut down on the hate speech, bullying, and extremism that runs rampant online? Do you want the final say on what content you see online? I, for one, like to pick out my groceries for myself. Do you?

Share your thoughts below! And click here to read the official Facebook announcement on Click Gap and other changes that will be implemented soon.

Feature Image Credit: newsroom.fb.com

Image 2: newsroom.fb.com

Image 3: time.com

By Amanda Disilvestro on April 19, 2019

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