Facebook Users Want Help Distinguishing Satire From Reality

A special label could indicate whether content posted on Facebook is in jest

Photo: VOISIN/phanie/Phanie Sarl/Corbis

Facebook users (and, sometimes, news agencies) often fall victim to satirical headlines posted on the website. It's gotten to the point that there's another website, Literally Unbelievable, dedicated to compiling earnestly humorous Facebook responses to phony stories. A recent Onion story titled "New Study Finds Humans Shouldn't Spend More Than 5 Consecutive Hours Together," for example, inspired one Facebook commenter to wonder, "How does that work in families? Especially for moms and newborn babies...not sure about that one." 

Facebook users apparently do not like being duped, however. As one Facebook representative told Mashable, "We received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units." The company is responding by rolling out a trial "[Satire]" tag. If approved, the tag would appear before the headline of satirical articles from websites such as The Onion and the Daily Currant.

The tests have been underway for a month, Mashable reports, and, in a sort of "Gottcha, just kidding!" approach, the "[Satire]" tag seems to only be showing up after a user clicks on the headline and then returns to Facebook. 

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.