Facebook is always trying to find ways to upgrade its services and to stay on the cutting edge of new technology and social trends, lest it lose its dominance in social media. The company’s latest effort in that vein is the new edition of a satire tag that will let people know when something is not to be taken literally.
It is a common problem in e mails and Facebook postings. People communicate in these venues as if they were speaking and not writing a letter and, as such, forget that sarcasm and satirical speech come hand in hand with a tone of voice that lets the listener know the intent of the speaker. But the written word is different.
This is why people have come up with all sorts of emoticons and Internet slang such as the “LOL.”
Facebook already offers a number of tags to save its users’ time and to help those people who are not familiar with all of the new rules of writing on line.
But it now feels that its users may need more help in discerning satirical and sarcastic postings. This may be because some people actually believe that stories their friends post links to that say things like, “Jennifer Aniston Having Alien baby, ” or “Seth Rogen Gives Up Pot; Joins a Convent, ” are true. So Facebook has announced plans to test a new satire tag.
“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 spokeswoman told MarketWatch. “This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.”
The decision to include the new tag may have come in response to one such satirical story that lampooned Facbook users in The Onion. The On Line magazine known for its heavy sarcasm and fake news stories basically called Facebook users stupid in a recent piece for taking its stories seriously.
But perhaps Facebook is on to something by not underestimating gullibility. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”