Facebook believed to be testing user survey tool to fight fake news

Over the past month Facebook has found itself the subject of widespread criticism over its failure to tackle fake news being spread within its walls.

Now, according to a number of select users the platform is testing a new tool in a bid to help identify and hide bogus stories by asking readers to rank on a scale of one to five what extent they think a link's headline "uses misleading language."

Things came to a head for Facebook following the US election when the social network's vice-president of product management Adam Mosseri acknowledged that the team had a lot more headway to make in tackling fake news.

"We take misinformation on Facebook very seriously. We value authentic communication, and hear consistently from those who use Facebook that they prefer not to see misinformation," he told Tech Crunch at the time, adding that despite efforts to moderate the site's news feed and trending sidebar there was "so much more" it needed to do.

"We’re committed to continuing to work on this issue and improve the experiences on our platform," he finished.

The latest tool was first reported by the Guardian, it's not yet clear how Facebook will use the data gathered in these tests as the company haven't commented on the trial.

In November, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined how his business plans to combat the spread of misinformation, revealing the details of seven projects designed to clamp down on the issue. He did, however, insist that 99% of the content on Facebook was "authentic", and dismissed the suggestion that hoaxes changed the outcome of the election as "extremely unlikely."

One day after his announcement, a group of Facebook employees set up an unofficial task force to tackle fake news telling BuzzFeed News that they disagreed with the boss' assertion that Facebook influenced the election as "a pretty crazy idea".