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Facebook makes the most obvious move ever — labeling the Onion as satire

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20 2014 4:50 a.m. MDT

Does "The Onion" need a satire tag for its articles?

Courtesy Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Facebook confirmed this week that it has added "satire" tags to posts from humorous websites like The Onion, which recasts and sometimes fabricates news stories to be funny.

The move already has some questioning whether or not labeling the content is necessary.

"Does Facebook think users are dumb?" Ars Technica asked in the article that broke the news.

The BBC stated in its coverage of the decision that some satirical content had been mistaken for the truth in the past, including one instance in 2013 when the Washington Post was cozened into reporting that Sarah Palin signed onto Al-Jazeera as a correspondent.

But others, like the Daily Dot's Audra Schroeder, called the labels overkill.

"First, Facebook came for our emotions. Now, they’ve come for satire. Because nothing is funnier than satire being pointed out," Schroeder wrote, alluding to Facebook's emotional experiments performed on users earlier this year. "Seems like an odd request to accommodate, when other content on Facebook probably needs to be addressed before the scourge of satire. Are we scrolling so wildly our brains can't process what's real anymore?"

As the practice of labeling continues, Mashable writer Chelsea Stark points out, the satire label might actually come in handy.

"The tags could be more useful for sites that aren't as well-known as The Onion," Stark wrote.

Facebook said in its initial announcement that it plans to label satirical content from all sources, not just from The Onion or its sister site, Clickhole. The Onion has yet to offer a (hopefully) satirical response.

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson

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