Facebook Inc (FB)’s Satire Tag May Annoy Some, but Improves Experience for Everyone Else


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s decision to begin testing the use of Satire tags on satirical articles has been an issue of heated debate over the past few days. That debate was continued on Bloomberg today, where analysts discussed the necessity of such a tag.

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“I think Facebook’s trying to clear up for the large universe of billions of people who don’t quite know what they’re getting into, what they’re actually seeing,” said Nieman Journalism Lab Director Joshua Benton.

Benton went on to describe a recent article on Clickhole about tragedies that had been predicted ahead of time by Adam Sandler in his skits and movies, and how numerous people who came across it believed it to be completely legitimate, and commented on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s social media site as such.

In that regard, the move does seem to be a good one for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), in the sense that it should limit the amount of disinformation that gets thrown around on the social network. And it is a move that was prompted by requests from users, who wanted a way to distinguish quickly between real stories and satirical ones.

While some people may scoff at the move on the grounds that people should be able to figure satire out for themselves (as the other analysts in the segment did, with one saying “the point of satire is to separate morons and thinking people”), that is only one element of the issue. It simply saves users time from having to click something they may not be interested in if they know it’s just fictional satire, as opposed to if it may actually be a real story.

In that sense, it’s hard to argue that the move isn’t a better one to improve the experience for most Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s users. It doesn’t ruin anything for people who enjoy satire; they should know what is or isn’t satire, and what sites deal in satire before they begin clicking anything anyway, so they’re not having anything spoiled. And it lets everyone else know what they’re seeing and allows them to decide whether they want to read it or not.

Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group is one of the largest shareholders in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), with just over 4.5 million shares in the company as of their most recent 13F filing.

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