Slate has introduced a new tool that allows users to participate in the battle against fake news. It’s called This Is Fake, and it’s a Chrome extension that flags debunked stories users may come across as they travel the internet’s many worm and rabbit holes.
The flagged posts are accompanied by a link to a legitimate source from the fact-based news world that debunks the story in question. Users are being encouraged to post those links as comments wherever they encounter fake news stories, such as in their Facebook feeds.
They can also flag fake articles themselves, which will be sent to Slate moderators to look over.
Since the term fake news is being thrown around at anything and everything these days, as well as misappropriated by those who who use the word “fake” to mean “fact/idea I don’t like,” Slate’s Will Oremus describes the parameters Slate is using to determine what is fake. Generally, it is applying the term to things that are made up, i.e., “stories that are designed to look like news articles but whose key ‘facts’ have been invented by their authors—and persuasively debunked by reputable sources,” and whose “core assertions are demonstrably and intentionally false.”
Oremus also describes what is left out of these guidelines:
But we would not count as fake news a story whose core claims are a matter of genuine dispute, with evidence on both sides. Nor would we count as fake news an opinion column that makes a prediction that turned out to be false, a news story that contains factual errors peripheral to its main point, or a work of analysis or commentary that uses hyperbole to advance a controversial argument. We hope users will use the tool in that spirit, and not to indiscriminately flag stories whose tone or viewpoint irks them. (We also distinguish between news and conspiracy theories, which may be genuinely believed by the people who purvey them. Our database focuses on the former, although it’s worth noting that fake news stories often have their roots in conspiracy theories.)
Check it out for yourself here.