Facebook’s Fake News Loophole

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Although Facebook has pledged to fight fake news and other misinformation on its platform, there’s a loophole (via Mashable).


Currently, there’s a bug in Facebook Groups that lets Pages create and spread fake news via editable link previews. These appear when you post a link to Facebook as an embed, and show an image and headline from the article.

In the past, users were able to edit the image, headline, and description. Facebook removed the editing feature in 2017. But the glitch still lets Facebook Pages do it.

Let’s take the Howard Schultz dropping out of the presidential race example. Using my Facebook Page and the loophole, I was able to post the same CNN link in a Facebook Group with an edited headline, completely changing the meaning of the post. You can see the result above. The average Facebook user scrolling by will see a CNN sourced article with a fake headline and wouldn’t know it was altered unless they actually clicked through.

Groups have become the new hive for misinformation, where conspiracy theorists, antivaxxers, and more have a shared, safe space for fake news.

To this day, applying for approval for your Facebook Page and your domain name is the only way to edit link preview metadata on your Facebook Page. There is no way to edit previews for links to sites you don’t own … other than this weird Groups loophole, of course.

Further Reading:

[How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account]

[Developers, it’s Time to Delete the Facebook SDK]

One thought on “Facebook’s Fake News Loophole

  • Andrew:

    Trying to plug the privacy and security holes and loopholes in FB is more futile than trying to plug the holes in a sieve with individual paper wads. Quixotic doesn’t begin describe the task.

    FB cannot be secured and should be declared an information, data and security hazard. Any and every country even attempting to hold free and fair elections, however defined, should by universal international agreement, be permitted to declare a FB moratorium during a specified period, to be determined by that country prior to their elections, during which FB and all of its related apps will be inaccessible to that country’s voting public. At least, that should be a sympathetic option.

    While one can recognise the good that this platform has done for information deserts in contested situations, this is easily balanced if not eclipsed by the harm it has enabled, particularly in the face of asymmetrical information warfare, against which FB’s homegrown countermeasures have been appallingly inadequate. This is not a bug, but a feature inextricably inherent in FB’s fabric and design.

    Hoping that FB will somehow become secure is as much magical thinking as expecting a wild pig to perform the role Juliet for the Bolshoi Ballet.

    Desperate times require…no FB.

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