Facebook has introduced a new feature recently. They will now assign a reputation score for their users based on their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to 1. The aim is to identify malicious users and deal with the gaming of tech systems more effectively. Tessa Lyons, the product manager in charge of handling misinformation, said that this is the company’s attempt to fight the growing menace of fake news.
For long, Facebook has banked on on its users to identify tricky content but some users began misleadingly stamp news as untrue, creating a tricky situation.
The trustworthiness score will not be an indicator of the credibility of the user. It is merely another step among thousands of new behavioral clues that Facebook now makes use of to understand and measure risk. It is unclear whether all users have a score and how the scores are used.
There are many new credibility systems being introduced by various tech platforms but their working is highly opaque. The process is never revealed to prevent more gaming. If the processes are revealed that the algorithms used for the same can be gamed – a catch 22 situation!
Meanwhile, the news is making many users uncomfortable as they do not know what methods are being used by Facebook to judge them.
Tech companies have been using algorithms for eons to predict the behavior of users on various parameters.
In 2015, Facebook allowed users to report posts they regarded as false. Users can easily flag problematic content for a variety of reasons, including unlawful sales, violence, pornography, hate speech and fake news. This move backfired as people started reporting even those content that was against their views. It became important for Facebook to find whether those who were flagging some posts were themselves trustworthy.
Lyons says she often joked that they would have it easy if users reported only false content. However, many users flag content that they don’t agree with. She was tightlipped when asked about the other steps that Facebook was taking to measure user trustworthiness. She said it would tip off the offenders.