Facebook To Point Out To Your Idiot Friends That The Onion Is Not Real News

It’s both hilarious and depressing when I go onto Facebook and see that someone I know is expressing outrage — OUTRAGE!! — in response to a shocking news story they came across online on a little-known news site called The Onion. Just this morning, I awoke to find that several of my idiot friends on Facebook had shared this Daily Currant story as if it were true, and one continued to insist it was authentic even after others pointed out in the comments that it’s a satire site. In order to cut down on the humiliation suffered by its users, Facebook is now testing a “satire” tag… that people will probably still ignore.

“We are running a small test which shows the text ‘[Satire]‘ in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed,” a Facebook spokesman tells BBC News. “This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.”

We’ve not seen any satire posts tagged that way, so we’re not sure how widespread the test is. Another issue is whether Facebook would base its satire tag on the overall content of a site or if it could be author-specific.

For example, Andy Borowitz’s contributions to The New Yorker often pop up in my Facebook newsfeed from both people who understand it is satire and from people who think it’s genuine news.

Google News has been tagging The Onion and other humor sites that pop up in search results as satire for quite some time.

UPDATE: The Onion has responded to Facebook’s attempt to hand-hold the irony-impaired.

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  1. kafm73 says:

    Well, thank goodness! Now, I won’t have to spend as much time informing my alarmist friends that the “news” they just shared with everyone (with added indignation, astonishment, and disbelief) is actually satirical.

  2. offenhauser says:

    I think most of the people who don’t recognize satire also do not understand the meaning of the word. Sort of like the word “yield”.