Fake news, misinformation and disinformation have been the bane of Facebook for a decade. As soon as we knew how to share memes and articles, we did it en masse. If you’re doing that as a business, you’re about to get slapped. 

Sharing those inspirational stories of people overcoming great adversity, of smarter than average children who are changing the world and incredibly prophetic words of wisdom from 19th Century futurists might be about to do some damage. Especially if any of those quotes and “facts” are found to be not true. 

Facebook continues its war on fake news 

In the past week, Facebook has indicated that it is about to do more than it ever has before to fight fake news, conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated reports on world happenings and quoting of original sources incorrectly. For individuals, it just means that if you share anything flagged by Google as not being able to be verified by trusted fact-checking organisations and sites, then your place on people’s feeds will be reduced.

The thought here is that it will slow down the spread of misinformation. A minor impact on personal feeds, but a potentially huge issue for business pages. If your business page is in the habit of sharing news articles on current affairs, politics, inspirational quotes from people who are on the edge of the health or medical establishment. I’m talking about personalities like David “Avocado” Wolfe and other vegan or alt health activists, then you’re going to come up against the big blue giant. 

Let’s just say that you share an inspirational post from another health page that claims that eating peach kernels has a range of health benefits, but this is shown to be not supported by any credible science, Google flags this as being an issue, and you share it anyway, the already decimated reach on the feed will be throttled back yet again.

And there are some indications that this may affect your ad reach too. While I don’t have confirmation that sharing disputed content will affect your ad account quality, there are some whispers that this could well be the case. I guess we just have to wait to see if this is the case or not. 

What can you do to avoid being throttled? 

There are several things you can do to avoid this. And they’re all easy to implement. 

  1. Reduce your dependence on sharing news articles from sources that are not considered to be reliable
  2. Create more of your own in-house content, rather than using material from outside
  3. If you want to share other people’s articles and news, do a quick check on something like Snopes and other fact-checking sites, even Wikipedia.
  4. Check your own unconscious bias when it comes to science, news, politics and even gender. Make sure that what you post that is contrarian, isn’t being posted blindly out of a bias you already hold towards that thought.
  5. Remember that you’re a business seeking customers, not a personality seeking applause. Your posts can be hurting your wallet.

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Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Treeti Business Consulting, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.

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