Facebook’s new feature will prompt users to read articles before sharing them

Facebook said on Monday it is testing a new feature in which it will send a prompt to users encouraging them to open and read an article before sharing it on the social media platform. 

Facebook says the new feature will activate if a user attempts to share a news article they have not read yet. 

"If you go to share a news article link you haven’t opened, we’ll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others," the company wrote in a tweet. 

The new feature follows a similar prompt initiated by Twitter last year for the same reasons. 

When someone goes to retweet the link to an article on Twitter but hasn’t clicked through to the story, they may be shown a pop-up message asking if they would like to read it before retweeting.

Twitter announced in June 2020, that it began testing the feature on Android phones in English "to help promote informed discussion," the company said.

In September, the company then released various data on how the prompt impacted user experience. 

The company says users were opening articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt. 

Both Facebook and Twitter have been working to combat misinformation on their sites surrounding a number of topics including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

In March, Facebook began adding labels to all posts about COVID-19 vaccines in hopes of mitigating the spread of misinformation on the platform. The company said it wanted to help facilitate more users getting vaccinated by connecting them with useful and accurate information. 

In a blog post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said labels on both Facebook and Instagram will contain "credible information" about the vaccines from the World Health Organization. The labels rolled out globally in English, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Arabic and French, with additional languages in the coming weeks.

Facebook has faced widespread criticism over account suspensions or post takedowns regarding misinformation, hate speech and nefarious influence campaigns in what some describe as sluggish and after-the-fact. The company set up the oversight board to rule on thorny issues about content on its platforms in response.

Former President Donald Trump was suspended from most social media platforms since Jan. 7, the day after a mob of his supporters engaged in a deadly riot at the Capitol.

Facebook has justified the suspension by saying they feared Trump would incite further violence while refusing to accept President Joe Biden’s election victory. Two posts, in particular, stood out to the board in their decision to uphold the suspension.

During the riot, Trump posted a message to his followers at the Capitol that said "We love you. You’re very special" and called them "great patriots" and said they would "remember this day forever."

This story was reported from Los Angeles. Kelly Hayes contributed.