It’s rather ironic that even as sites such as Facebook wage war against fake news, they’re sometimes powerless to stop themselves ending up at the centre of a spurious story themselves.
This month you may have seen a post doing the rounds on – where else – Facebook about supposed changes to the algorithms at play on the social media site.
The suggestion is that the platform has secretly limited users’ newsfeeds so that they only see the posts of 26 friends.
People are therefore urged to leave a comment on the post which will, by some digital dark arts, ensure that they aren’t permanently knocked off their friend’s feed.
If 26 sounds a suspiciously arbitrary number then that’s because it’s been thought up not by one of Mark Zuckerberg’s technical wizards but an unknown prankster.
As always, there is a smidgen of truth in the story. Facebook did indeed recently modify its systems, although the alterations to algorithms – which we discussed in last month’s article – were in actual fact targeted at news stories.
The recent hoax is by no means the first of its kind and no doubt you have seen similar posts in the past warning, for example, that Facebook is about to make all your private posts public or lay claim to the copyright of your various holiday snaps.
As always it’s best to treat these stories with a pinch of salt and if you’re especially worried then try checking with one of the reputable technology websites to see if there’s any substance to the supposed changes.
Nine times out of ten the proposal has not originated from Facebook’s futuristic HQ in sun-drenched California but a nondescript bedroom somewhere!