Facebook wants to improve the user experience by reducing the amount of news containing hoaxes or misinformation. They do not remove or review the content – instead an annotation is added that users have reported on its accuracy.
In August 2014 Facebook tested “Satire” tags added to posts like ones originating from The Onion, which users would spread, thinking it was actual news. Washington Post ran a little test of their own to see which satire site’s Facebook news feeds showed “Satire” tags.
Fort Collins, CO, USA. News outlets began reporting that a 6-year-old boy was trapped in a UFO-like balloon that floated away. Fire and police were called and a search began to help get the boy – identified as Falcon Heene – down safely. When the balloon landed, no boy was in the balloon. A search and rescue began. Later found hiding in the attic of their home, suspicions began that this was not all as it seemed.
Halloween Eve, 1938. Orson Welles broadcasted Howard E. Koch’s version of H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds novel for CBS Radio. People went crazy thinking Martians were invading Earth.
But according to a Slate article, panic from Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast might not have been panic after all. The amount of people listening – and then even lower on the amount of believers – were too low to have caused the mass hysteria we all heard about. Headlines of Welles’ broadcast causing “terror through U.S.” were opportunistic journalists wanting to sensationalize the event for readership.