Facebook has a fake news problem. It's something the company has made no secret of and -- even though it was reluctant to acknowledge it at first -- is now working to tackle.
One of the ways it's doing this is by hiring "news publisher specialists" to advise on news content that appears on the social network, according to job ads spotted by The Guardian on Friday.
The contracted positions based at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, were originally listed as "news credibility specialists," with the original job titles still in the URL for the listings at the time of writing. According to The Guardian, the job descriptions also originally listed a "passion for journalism" as a requirement, but this was later removed.
"We're working on how we more effectively identify and differentiate news and news sources across our platform. For instance, we recently announced the Archive of Ads with Political Content, where we'll build separate treatments for both news and non-news content," said a company spokesman in a statement.
Facebook's struggle with fake news emerged in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum and US presidential election. Over the past year, the social network has cracked down on the issue through a variety of means, including partnerships with fact-checking organizations and adverts in newspapers.
Facebook moved away from using human editors in 2016, putting more emphasis on algorithms to do the heavy lifting of identifying newsworthy content and credible sources for its Trending Topics section. Last week, Facebook announced it would discontinue the section, which has been criticized for promoting hoax stories, altogether.
But even without Trending Topics, it still has the problem of fake user-shared news stories gaining traction among readers. It's now looking to establish new ways to let users know whether the source of a story is trustworthy.
The company insisted it is only using third parties to check news and said its newly advertised jobs are not related to ranking sources according to trust.
First published June 8 at 9:41 a.m. PT.
Update June 11 at 9.26 a.m. PT: Adds statement from Facebook and changes headline to better reflect the nature of its job posting.
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