In the wake of the Facebook ‘fake news’ scandal, the new Facebook Explore tab is Zuckerberg’s latest offering to try and curb the furore. Mark investigates the new tab, and what its function will be on the social media platform.
New Facebook Explore Tab To Counter Social ‘Echo Chamber’
Facebook has been experimenting with an alternative newsfeed in light of recent allegations of ‘fake news’ on its platform. Zuckerberg and his team currently have a development tab, the Facebook Explore tab, that encourages users to find new photos, videos and articles. To tackle the fierce criticism, Zuckerberg has also hired a Head of News.
Other organisations such as Snopes and the Associated Press to introduced new fake news tools, and created a journalism project. The new tools to tackle fake news – including an option to flag suspicious posts – have been tested in Germany, France, the US, and the Netherlands.
Practically, What Has Facebook Done?
The tab is called the “Explore tab” and is available on the latest beta version of the Android app. This can be accessed at the top of the screen and is an alternative the “Home” feed.
How will this help?
The Facebook Explore tab will show new photos, videos and articles that are proving popular but not liked by an account. It will use the Facebook user’s interests and topic to match pages similar to those pages liked by a user. The idea is to show Facebook users posts from outside their own Facebook world. Some iOS versions of Facebook have been seen with the Explore tab, as well. There has not been an official launch of this tab as of yet.
The purpose of the Facebook Explore tab is to show Facebook users a wider range of content. Moments is Twitter’s equivalent and Instagram has a Search & Explore tab that shows trending photos and videos.
Instagram is owned by Facebook. Their way of sharing is to track photos and videos by the number of likes by the people you follow or the posts you like. Video channels may also appear by the content you like and follow.
This new development by Facebook is a hasty attempt to counter the criticism it received in the wake of the US Presidential Election. It was, in case you have been living under a rock, claimed that the ‘echo chamber’ of the Facebook newsfeed, which only presented people with views that aligned with their own, inhibited people from evolving their opinions. Fake news was found to dominate the platform, further skewing views and potentially influencing voter behaviour.
In light of these allegations, it was important that Facebook did something, and quickly. But will the new Explore tab have the desired effect? Or does the social media giant need to go a step further to keep minds open, and access to news balanced?