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Feature is currently experimental, does not modify user attached or reading list content

Ars Technica spotted an interesting update to Facebook, Inc.'s (FB) ubiquitous, titular social network.  When posting articles from comedy/spoof websites such as The Onion or Cracked to one's News Feed, the auto-generated "related articles" now carry the disclaimer "[Satire]" in front of the title as a disclaimer for pieces that are purposefully inaccurate for the sake of comedy.
 
Some sites, including the Buzzfeed spoof Clickhole were curiously immune to the auto-tagging.
 
Responding to the initial post on the find, a Facebook spokesperson says:
 
We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.
 
While this may seem obnoxious, it should be noted that the tag is not added to the article titles in your read-later lists or to articles attached to posts by you or your friends.  This tagging only applies to the content Facebook generates.

Facebook Satire tags
An example of the new tags [Image Source: Ars Technica]

Tweaking the feed is a sensitive topic in light of Facebook's highly controversial psychology experiment, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that studied the effects of tweaking 1 in 2,500 users (0.04 percent of total users') feeds with either positive or negative misinformation.  The strategy provoked an apology last month from Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.  The researcher involved, Adam D. I. Kramer, also issued a quasi-apology:

 

But in Facebook's defense on the new satire tags, good satire often closely mirrors reality, albeit in a tongue in cheek manner.  All things considered, Facebook's tags really aren't that different from the  "/sarcasm" tags internet posters frequently put, to clarify their intentions.
 
Labeling statements -- or articles -- as sarcastic/satirical may take away part of the fun. Many find humor in seeing confused individuals mistake such statements for truth. On the other hand, many seem to feel that it's better to be clear and forthright in the ambiguous world of internet text as the humor gained from misunderstandings is outweighed by the inevitable hurt feelings.  
 
Facebook's satire tags are an interesting addition, but certainly aren't a new development in the world of internet posting.

Source: Ars Technica





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