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Facebook Finally Combats the Fake News Virus

A “satire” editor responds to the move.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced something of vast importance to anyone in politics or anyone who covers politics. The social network would start punishing sources that spread fake news. "When you click to hide a story you also have the option to report the content," the company said. "Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories."

This was described as a way to fight actual crime, which was diplomatic; the larger and more viral problem is the mass sharing of bogus clickbait news under the guise of "satire." For years, an obscure colony of sites have gotten monster traffic (and started no small number of arguments between relatives) by publishing stories that key off the news in some way but add outrageous details. Snopes.com is full of these stories, from the tale of Representative Michele Bachmann threatening to leave Minnesota over gay marriage, to President Barack Obama telling young people not to celebrate Independence Day, to Ebola cases that the rest of the media would not report. Because the cases did not exist.