Just for a second try to imagine a world where you can't trust anyone.
Airbnb design challenge by Stan Rapp
1.1 Task
Identify a meaningful problem within an existing digital product of your choosing. Then, reimagine and redesign a solution that showcases your abilities to solve complex design problems.
1.2 Identifying a meaningful problem
Fighting fake news on Facebook.
1.3 What is "fake news"?
Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.
By Zeynep Tufekci, Wired
Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and an opinion writer for The New York Times.
1.4 Does anyone care?
Google Trends says that during the period of last two years average American cares a lot on a daily basis. On some days it was the most discussed topic!
Google Trends
1.5 Why do I need to care about fake news?
TL;DR: Fake news is harmful!

Long version: fake news can affect your life on every level. Starting with your personal health by proving misleading news stories related to medical treatments and major diseases and ending up with affecting the voting process in your country.
1.6 Are there people affected by fake news?
There is 99% chance you were affected by the fake news! Yep, you read it right. The reason for is fake news is here from the ancient times. Do you need an example? This example is pretty recent, but just to give you an idea about consequences.
Stars and Stripes newspaper cover (August 4, 1964)
Tuesday, August 2nd 1964, the US Navy destroyer Maddox is attacked by three torpedo north Vietnamese boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, north Vietnam. After seeing the patrol boats coming, the Maddox fired three warning shells but the Vietnamese still attacked. The destroyer was damaged in the attack but fired almost 300 5-inch shells in response. The NSA announced there was a second sea battle two days later on the 4th.
The result, 8 days later on August 10th, Johnson signed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allowed the United States to wage war in any Southeast Asian county in order to help stop the Soviet aggression.

It was originally claimed by the National Security Agency that a Second Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead evidence was found of "Tonkin ghosts" (false radar images) and not actual North Vietnamese torpedo boats. In the 2003 documentary The Fog of War, the former United States Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted that the August 2 USS Maddox attack happened with no Defense Department response, but the August 4 Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened. In 1995, McNamara met with former Vietnam People's Army General Võ Nguyên Giáp to ask what happened on August 4, 1964 in the second Gulf of Tonkin Incident. "Absolutely nothing", Giáp replied. Giáp claimed that the attack had been imaginary. From Wikipedia.
Death Toll
Fake news = real deaths.
Yes, there was a war without American troops, but involving America in the conflict increased the amount of killed by a hundred times.
1.7 Why Facebook?
Because Facebook is the most popular social media in the US. Facebook reported 185 million daily active users in North America, an increase from the fourth quarter.

Facebook is not sharing information about DAU specifically from the US, but it's obvious that around 160 million of the population is from the US.

On another hand here is another article from The New York Times: Russian Influence Reached 126 Million Through Facebook Alone.

3 from 4 US Facebook users were affected by the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.

Also, Facebook products own Top3 Most popular mobile social networking apps in the United States as of May 2018 (Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger).
1.8 Why should Facebook care?
Fake news deals real damage to your business.

The news that Cambridge Analytica was able to amass data on 50 million users without their permission has sent Facebook's market value down nearly $50 billion just in 2 days. Cambridge Analytica was a culmination in a series of events including fake news.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find Facebook loses specifically from fake news, but I found a note from Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group. He said in a note to clients that Facebook could see a real impact in the next quarter and even the next year, perhaps to the tune of a couple of percentage points.

Also, let's keep in mind #deletefacebook movement. From Elon Mush and Cher to WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton (former Facebook executive).
1.9 Is it in scope?
Facebook mission statement: Facebook's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
There are 5 core values and I want to list a few of them.
#2. Focus on Impact
To have the biggest impact, we need to focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.
#4. Be Open
We believe that a more open world is a better world. The same goes for our company. Informed people make better decisions and have a greater impact, which is why we work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information about the company as possible.
#5. Build Social Value
Facebook was created to make the world more open and connected, not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.
As we can see, 3 of 5 company values are against fake news. So yes, Facebook empowers employees to fight fake news.
Solving the puzzle
I decided not to invent the wheel, and continue with Design Thinking.
2.1 Empathize
Unfortunately, I don't have the time and opportunity to ask people their thoughts about fake news. Luckily there is a lot of information about this topic on the Internet. So let's start.
Fifty-nine percent of people surveyed for the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer said they were unsure what they see in the media is true and what isn't, while nearly seven in 10 said they worry about fake news being used as "a weapon."

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) said the average person does not know how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods. The report surveyed people in 28 countries. From CNBC.
According to a new survey by Pew Research Center, most Americans suspect that made-up news is having an impact. About two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. This sense is shared widely across incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics. These results come from a survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted from Dec. 1 to 4, 2016. From Journalism.org
Students Have 'Dismaying' Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds.
A new study from Stanford researcher highlighted how many students failed to effectively evaluate the credibility of that information. Here are just a few quotes from this study:
  1. More than 80 percent of middle schoolers believed that 'sponsored content' was a real news story.
  2. More than 30 percent of students thought a fake Fox News account was more trustworthy than the real one.
To support the last statement here is another piece of research by Buzzfeed.
Fake news has been hitting the genuine headlines since the US election and, as the infographic below shows, it's a real problem. As research by Buzzfeed using Buzzsumo shows, from August until election day, fake news stories had more engagement on Facebook than mainstream stories did. The most 'popular' story falsely stated that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency - receiving almost one million engagements (shares, reactions and comments).
2.2 Define
Based on the provided research, let's make some hierarchy of conclusions:
People fail to identify real news from fake ones.
Fake news is spreading faster than real ones.
Fake news creates great confusion.
People fail to identify fake news and share them. Fake news becomes popular faster than real news which leads to a moment when you get faker than real news about some recent event (confusion).

The problem starts from the lower level that's why I decided to focus on on the starting point and try to figure out why people fail to identify real news from the fake news?

People fail to identify real news from fake ones because there is not always a clear line between true and false news online. There is a very thin line between personal opinion and the fake news. On another side, there is a 100% fabricated content. Looks like there are a lot of types of fake news.
Claire Wardle of First Draft News identified seven types of fake news:
  1. satire or parody ("no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool").
  2. false connection ("when headlines, visuals or captions don't support the content").
  3. misleading content ("misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual").
  4. false context ("when genuine content is shared with false contextual information").
  5. imposter content ("when genuine sources are impersonated" with false, made-up sources).
  6. manipulated content ("when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive", as with a "doctored" photo).
  7. fabricated content ("new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm").

During this test task, I would like to focus on item #6.
To design tools that will help people to identify manipulated content.
2.2.1 Ways to measure success
The biggest problem with the fake news is the snowball effect: more people share, more it looks like a real fact. That's why the number of shares per fake news should be a core metric. If this number will decrease, this will be a good indicator people are informed and don't want to share the fake news.
There might be additional metrics:
  • the difference in time when fake news appeared on Facebook and till the time it was removed from Facebook platform due to the violation of Community Standards or ad policies. Faster Facebook will identify fake news and get rid of them fewer people will share fake information.
  • the percentage of identified fake news to the unidentified fake news.
2.3 Ideate
Fake news is a global problem. Lots of bright minds spent their time thinking about how to defeat the fake news. I don't want to claim someone's ideas, but I want to compare global initiatives to what Facebook implemented in order to defeat fake news.
Since I decided to focus on manipulated content, let's review some examples. I found a great example which is only a few days old. From Time.
Original content
Manipulated content shared by Donald Trump Jr. on his Instagram account
Manipulated content shared by Donald Trump on his Facebook account
Or another one: An example of how the picture was altered again and again after each person fell out of favor with Joseph Stalin. From Wikipedia.
One photo and three lives.
2.3.1 Ways to manipulate content
  • Doctored photos.
  • Video fakes.
  • Presenting old news as new news.
2.3.2 List of ideas
2.4 Prototype
I would like to focus on next ideas:
  1. Check images in Google Images Search and notify if it was modified.
  2. Information about the author.

I decided to focus on informing users (vs. creating algorithms to rank publishers or level of truth) because of teaching people to verify sources and search for additional information is a more reliable way to defeat fake news syndrome. Such an approach will work outside of the Facebook platform as well, which is an additional benefit.
I want to make an assumption that Facebook and Google will join their forces against fake news. I am going to create prototypes with a usage of Google Image Search technology. I assume Facebook has the same technology in-house for image recognition, but I wasn't able to find any solid information about that.
I found an interesting article from Facebook designer Jeff Smith about fact-checking notifications. I wasn't able to reproduce this feature, but let's consider Facebook already implemented it. What's the reason for that? I want to be sure I design for all edge cases. Also, hopefully, you will give me extra credit for this.

Based on this article, there is a fact-checking mechanism. The problem with fact-checking is speed. In most cases, fake news spread in minutes while fact-checking requires some time. So I want to create a mechanism that can notify about fake news even when fact-checking is not available yet. This mechanism will allow preventing the spread of fake news from the very first second of appearing on the platform.

How? By checking images if they were:
  1. doctored.
  2. appeared on the Internet earlier (let's say 6 months ago). Again, our goal is to prevent fake news in the very first minute of appearing them on the platform. It is a very rare case that the Breaking News category will use an old image. Here is an example.
Photo from a feature film falsely represented to depict a real child, orphaned by the Ukrainian military in Donbass, Ukraine. From stopfake.org
Here is a proposed workflow to check articles.
I suggest not to combine fact-checker warnings with doctored image warnings since fact-checker is a more reliable way of verifying information.

Also, I didn't combine doctored and old notifications into a one. The fact that the image was modified is already a serious reason for the warning.

Paper and pen time!
My mad handwriting skills
Sketch time!
The proposed solution for content, which previously appeared in other sources. You will see a popup once you will try to share this article.
In the first iteration, I planned to display the original and manipulated content side by side (middle image). Unfortunately, only fact-checkers can verify the content, and by that time it will be already late. So I decided to highlight manipulated content and inform users about it (right image).
My suggested designs are laconic and align with Facebook visual language (built using native iOS components). Again, my idea is to inform users about potential manipulations till fact-checkers will approve or reject (delete) "Breaking News" that share very fast.

To continue my idea, we can notify users via Notification Center if the article has been removed by the reviewers.
2.5 Test
There is a crazy range of ways to test my solution. Unfortunately, I don't have an opportunity to use at least one of them.

General people feedback:
  • focus groups
  • blog posts
  • press releases

Usability and engineering:
  • usability studies
  • speed
  • downtime

Fine tuning:
  • A/B tests

  • In addition to the product metrics, I already mentioned we should check core business metrics.
3. Outro
Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoyed reading my test task!
3.1 Conclusion
Fake news is a remarkably complex topic. Current technologies don't allow us even to fight entirely fabricated content. I am not even saying about grey content. Such a situation creates a precedent when you do not know what is true and what is a lie. You lose confidence in the news, education, and health. False news is one of the greatest problems of modern democracy.

My solution should prevent spreading of fake news from the very first second of appearing those on the platform by educating users about manipulated content.

In my personal opinion, cultivating the culture of critical thinking is way more important than any algorithm that will try to measure the truth.
3.2 Might be better
To be honest, everything might be better. More consolidated research, better ideas, and prototypes. But if I need to pick only one thing, I would like to choose usability studies.
  1. Twitter is looking for ways to let users flag fake news, offensive content.
  2. Many Americans Believe Fake News Is Sowing Confusion.
  3. Number of monthly active Twitter users worldwide from 1st quarter 2010 to 2nd quarter 2018 (in millions).
  4. Why Facebook and Google are struggling to purge fake news.
  5. The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News.
  6. How to Identify a Fake.
  7. Facebook's Fake News Problem May Actually Hurt Earnings.
  8. Facebook has lost nearly $50 billion in market cap since the data scandal.
  9. How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News.
  10. Fake News and Alternative Facts: Finding Accurate News: Why is Fake News Harmful?
  11. The Week in Fact-Checking: Zika rumors and other reasons 'fake news' is bad for your health.
  12. Facebook's 5 Core Values.
  13. Russian Influence Reached 126 Million Through Facebook Alone.
  14. The science behind why fake news is so hard to wipe out.
  15. Nearly 70 percent of people are worried about fake news as a 'weapon,' survey says.
  16. What is the most damaging fake news in history?
  17. What is the best way to check fake news?
  18. Most popular mobile social networking apps in the United States as of May 2018, by monthly users (in millions).
  21. Facebook's fight against fake news.
  22. Hard Questions: What's Facebook's Strategy for Stopping False News?
  23. Helping People Better Assess the Stories They See in News Feed.
  24. Designing New Ways to Give Context to News Stories.
  25. Designing Against Misinformation.
  26. Working to Stop Misinformation and False News.