Following Twitter’s lead, Facebook is trying a new feature designed to encourage users to read it before sharing a link. This phase will gradually reach a percentage of Facebook’s Android users worldwide in a rollout that aims to encourage “sharing information” of news on the platform. A few years after Pandora opened the box of bad behavior, social media companies are trying to figure out subtle ways to reshape how people use their platforms.
Users can easily click to share a given story, but the idea is that by adding friction to the experience, people can reconsider their actual tendencies to share the kind of inflammatory content that exists on the platform. Last June, Twitter urged users to read a link before retweeting it, and the company found the test feature to be successful and extended it to more users. Facebook has started making more requests like last year.
Last June, the company introduced pop-up messages to warn users before sharing any content older than 90 days in an attempt to cut out the misleading stories that came out of their original context. At the time, Facebook said it was looking at other pop-up requests to undo other types of misinformation. A few months later, Facebook released similar pop-up messages that noted the date and source of any links to their COVID-19.
The strategy demonstrates Facebook’s preference for a passive strategy of diverting people from misinformation and pushing them to its own verified resources on hot button issues such as the COVID-19 and 2020 elections. The jury has not yet ruled on the extent to which this misconception of malicious behavior could affect the epidemic, but both Twitter and Facebook have requested that users be discouraged from posting offensive comments. Pop-up messages that tell users that their bad behavior is being monitored may lead to more automated additions to social platforms.
Although users scrape their misinformation and abuse-prone existing platforms and will be better served by further rebuilding them from the ground up, small behavior nodes need to be done.