Facebook to warn users before they share old news articles

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Facebook is rolling out a new feature globally that will warn users if they’re about to share an article that’s over 90 days old. The feature, which was announced in a blog post, is designed to give people more context about articles before they share them, in the hope that the content on the platform becomes more “timely and credible.” Users still have the option of sharing an article after seeing the notification.

The feature was developed in response to concerns that old news articles can sometimes be shared as though they’re current news, Facebook says. A news article about a terrorist attack from a few years ago can be shared as though it happened much more recently, for example, which Facebook says “can misconstrue the state of current events.”

Facebook is not the first company to have tried this approach. Last year, The Guardian started adding the year of publication to the thumbnails of old articles when shared on social media. The feature “[makes] it much harder to spin an old story as a new outrage,” The Guardian’s head of editorial innovation, Chris Moran, wrote at the time.

The Facebook feature comes as multiple social networks are experimenting with using prompts to encourage users to change the way they post. Last year, for example, Instagram started warning users before they posted “potentially offensive” captions in their posts, and just this month Twitter announced that it would be testing a feature to encourage users to read articles before retweeting them.

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