TIME Social Media

Facebook Could Start Labeling Satirical Posts So You Don’t Think They’re Real

Apple IPads Sales Down
An Apple iPad displays its home screen on August 6, 2014 in London. Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

The confusion is more common than you might expect

Facebook is running what it calls a “small test,” tagging posts from satire outlets like the Onion so that users understand that the content isn’t real.

MarketWatch reports that the social-media platform is running beta tests on some users’ News Feeds, having “received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others,” in the words of a Facebook spokeswoman.

Facebook would not elaborate on the experiments, MarketWatch said.

The confusion is more common than one might expect: there are entire blogs devoted to documenting the dismay of Facebook users who have learned the “news” that Barack Obama has run over Jimmy Carter with his car, or that the Harry Potter series fostered a new wave of Satanism among the America’s elementary school students.

Nor is it limited to Facebook. When the Onion named Kim Jong Un the “sexiest man alive” in 2012, the story was picked up by the People’s Daily — the flagship publication of the Chinese Communist Party, which received the news with unsmiling gravity.

[MarketWatch]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser