Facebook is piloting a Satire tag for fake news stories in the newsfeed, Ars Technica reports. “We received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units,” a Facebook representative apparently told Ars Technica. According to the report, the company has been piloting the tag for a month and is applying it to more outlets than just the Internet’s favorite satirical news site, The Onion. No word on if it will become official policy or what news sites will be affected.
Facebook is already an unbearable enough place as of late, at least in my case. Awful national and international news stories continue to appear in my personal feed alongside friends’ amateur political commentary and personal quibbles, and that mix makes the occasional ray of satirical, hilarious sunshine from off-kilter sites like The Onion welcome. Sadly, Facebook has begun trying to ruin even these fun articles by appending their titles with a “satire” tag. The major catch to this auto-tagging is that it only appears in a “related articles” box. Here’s how it works: If a friend posts an Onion link to his or her Facebook feed, click on it for a laugh. Once you’re done at The Onion and come back to your desktop or laptop browser, Facebook will have generated three related articles in a box directly below whatever you’d clicked on. In the case of an Onion link, that box will usually contain at least one article from the same site, only that article’s headline will begin with the word “satire” in brackets. As of press time, we were able to duplicate this result on three different computers from different accounts, one of which is shown above.