• Facebook has announced a new feature for all users
  • The feature will alert users if an article they wish to share is old news
  • The feature was created to provide users with context when sharing articles

Facebook has announced that it is rolling out a new feature that will inform users if the article they are about to share on the social media platform is old news so they can evaluate whether to post it or not.

In a blog entry, the company's VP for Feed and Stories, John Hegeman, said the social media giant is now introducing a new feature that will show a notification screen that will alert users if the article they are going to share (whether they've actually read it or not) is old.

The feature was created so that users will have the context they need to know so they will be able to make “informed decisions” regarding what they want to share with others on the social media platform. This is so that users will not spread old news that can be used to mislead others.

“Over the past several months, our internal research found that the timeliness of an article is an important piece of context that helps people decide what to read, trust and share,” Hegeman said.

The VP also emphasized how certain news publishers have “expressed concerns about older stories being shared on social media as current news, which can misconstrue the state of current events.” He said some of them have taken necessary steps to prevent people with malicious intent from using old news to mislead others by labeling the articles as needed.

Hegeman then explained how Facebook's new feature will work to help prevent the use of old news to mislead:

  • Facebook will show a notification screen when a user clicks or taps on the share button on an article that's older than 90 days. The notification screen will include a caption that says “This article is over 3 months old.” The caption changes depending on the date the article was published.
  • Underneath the caption rests two buttons: one labeled “Continue” and another labeled “Go Back.” Clicking or tapping on the first button will let users share the article, even if it's old. Clicking or tapping on the second button, on the other hand, returns users to the previous screen.

The notification screen will not stop users from sharing the article they've just seen. It will, however, add one more step before they can actually share the article with others.

Facebook old news
Facebook's new feature will alert users if an article they want to share is old Facebook