Community Review

BY FACEBOOK

A hypothetical update to Facebook's application in attempt to combat the growing misinformation within social media's information ecosystem.

INTRODUCTION

Facebook, considered "one of the Big Five technology companies," currently has 2.45 billion monthly  active users. However, Facebook itself estimates that at least 116 million of these accounts are fake. In addition, Facebook is a widely mistrusted source of shared information, and is a widely used vehicle to disperse disinformation and misinformation. With COVID-19 and this year's upcoming American presidential election, Facebook has promised improvements within the application of dealing with misinformation.

MOTIVATION

As a frequent user of Facebook applications (including Facebook and Instagram), I am concerned at the amount of misinformation that is widely shared amongst my peers. I decided it would be wise to tackle the current thriving ecosystem of Facebook and making it "misinformation proof," through what I know about user testing.

THE PROBLEM

Facebook is a widely used vehicle to share information, some of are posts that are fake/are hoaxes. However, Facebook's current platform isn't creating a user experience that promotes fact-checking habits, or informs users about the prevalence of misinformation on their newsfeeds.

TOOLS
ROLE
DURATION

Adobe InDesign

Graphic Designer
UX/UI Designer

_User Interviews
_Wireframing

_Visual Design

_User-Testing

10 weeks

 
A DESIGN CHALLENGE EMERGED...

How might I improve Facebook's user interface to better address the misinformation problem headfirst? How can I use knowledge of user experience to re-teach wise sharing habits?

THE SOLUTION

Create an extension/upgrade to the current Facebook application that helps inform, identify, reduce, and prevent information from spreading onto the platform. 

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM

My first approach to understanding this problem was to process the prompt through understanding the topic of misinformation as a whole subject. Below is a research booklet and concept map created to summarize my findings.

RESEARCH: DESIGN BRIEF

The next step to solving my design problem was to identify a current brand/entity that could be the branding vehicle for my project. I specifically chose Facebook as it is currently a widely used social media platform, and has had a rocky past when it comes to social media privacy and the 2016 presidential election. I want to take the challenge of not only devising a design solution to combat misinformation, bu also earning user trust back through these design choices. 

Primary Audience

Current Facebook users—

Ages: 18-65+

Income: $75k+

Other: Owns a smart phone (96% of FB users use mobile devices to access their accounts.

Benefit for Primary Audience

A valuable extension of the application to help educate users on misinformation, how to not become victims of misinformation, and how to fight against misinformation.

Current Perceptions

- Facebook is a source of misinformation/the reason why there is misinformation
- Facebook is a large social media and technology company that is used for sharing articles, as well as posting updates on personal life, creating groups, pages, etc.
- "Facebook is for old people"

Desired Perceptions

- Facebook is a social media application that is a search engine and platform for news that is aware of the misinformation ecosystem, and is trying to combat misinformation
- Facebook can potentially educate users on how to unlearn bad habits and relearn what it is like to be a “good user”
- Facebook is something that people want to use and want to trust

(Primary) Objective

To inform and educate users about misinformation, and to help handle the misinformation ecosystem (within Facebook) in a more productive manner.

(Secondary) Objective

To motivate users want to contribute with dealing with misinformation by being fact-checkers themselves (what can be positive reinforcement)?

Principal Message

Facebook’s Campaign Against Misinformation is working for the people and to help spread truth and erase misinformation. 

Support Points

- Facebook currently has a misinformation team that is dealing with machine learning to help combat the system’s algorithms against fake news.
- Facebook is still a highly used product with over 2.5 billion users and can reach all of these people and affect the way they intake information
- Facebook is constantly trying to stay relevant and for the advantage of people (think safety updates, current ads for WHO updates on the Coronavirus, etc.)

Tone

Educated and systematic, yet accessible and approachable

Takeaway

This company is helping make the world fake news free; it is a big business that is working for me, not against me.

Challenge

- People clearly associate Facebook having something to do with misinformation
- People do not trust Facebook
- People are turned off by the “Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal”
- Facebook has a reputation of having lots of sub-companies (good and bad)
- How to systemize misinformation on the platform?

 
CONNECTING IDEAS

My second step to creating a solution to this problem was to choose an existing company to help solve the problem of misinformation. As I decided to tackle Facebook, I wanted to freely brainstorm the possibilities that this project holds.

INITIAL

BRAINSTORM

To begin every project, I create a mind map with questions and potential solutions to the problem. This process helps me identify potential focus points moving forward.

 
PRIMARY RESEARCH: CONDUCTING A SURVEY

My first method of conducting primary research was through creating a survey to find patterns of wants and needs that people had with regard to misinformation and its prevalence on Facebook.
 

Link to Google Form

Key Takeaways

UNDERSTANDING OF RELEVANCE

Almost 100% of participants believe that there is a need for Facebook to improve the way it deals with misinfo.

LACK OF ACTION

50% of those surveyed didn't know that Facebook currently has an initiative against misinformation.

TRUST IN FACT-CHECKERS

80% believe that having designated user fact checkers is the best solution, in addition to 70% suggesting flagging.

COMPROMISE

Opinions are split when it comes to misinformation being completely deleted/being overlaid with an indicator.

UX PREFERENCES

The most wanted way of helping educate users on misinformation is utilizing in app warnings/prompts.

MISINFO CATEGORIES

60% of individuals believed that satire should be marked as misinformation or labeled in a way that specifies "humor/satire."

PRIMARY RESEARCH: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

My second method of conducting primary research was to create interview questions for current Facebook users and their experience with misinformation on the platform itself.

Warm-Up​
  • Thank for participating

  • Intro to project ​

  • Expectations

    • Time frame (15-30) minutes)

    • Answer only questions that are comfortable

    • No right or wrong answers

  • See this more as a discussion, rather than an interview

Overview
  1. How often are you on Facebook?

  2. What does the term "misinformation" mean to you?

  3. How often do you see misinformation on Facebook, and if so do you do anything about it (comment, dislike, etc.)?

  4. Do you trust Facebook? (Cambridge Analytica scandal?

  5. How often to do see political ads on Facebook?

  6. How often do you see people sharing misinformation on Facebook?

  7. How do you think the platform can do a better job at dealing with misinformation?

  8. How much do you fact check things before you share them?

  9. Why do you think are people so vulnerable to misinformation?

ACTION + VISIBILITY = TRUST

Regardless of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, people are still using Facebook. Nonetheless, despite there being articles on Facebook wanting to improve misinformation in the ecosystem as a whole there isn't complete transparency as to what users can do to help. In fact, there is a help page that teaches users how to report false news, but it isn't being promoted.

PEOPLE = POWER

Users are currently a powerful resource to machine learning models to help with the issue of misinformation, and although there are people that want to help, they don't know how to without having their privacy being affected.

USERS ARE VULNERABLE

Misinformation is an extremely touchy topic during this time due to the unprecedented amounts of misinformation being shared on social media. People are slowly being groomed to not want to fact check information, which is vital for the cycle of misinformation to stop.

Key Takeaways

 

PERSONAS

I decided to create a persona for each user type to help me create hypothetical user scenarios that I could focus on in creating my application.

PROPOSING SOLUTIONS: UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM

My second method of conducting primary research was to create interview questions for current Facebook users and their experience with misinformation on the platform itself.

Key Problems & Proposed Solutions

  • There needs to be a faster and more efficient way that the process of misinformation being send to third party fact checkers

    • Community Review: ​A new tab on Facebook that expedites the process for selected credible and active users to flag and rate posts for misinformation. 

  • It is not clear to users that Facebook is actively trying to act behind misinformation​​

    • Misinformation Campaign​: Facebook highlights and creates an active campaign to help encourage users to be more aware of misinformation.

  • It is not clear to users that things could potentially be misinformation being shared on their news feeds

    • ​Result of Community Review and Misinformation Campaign​: Facebook is able to create a user friendly interaction to show that something is ranked as misinformation, and encourages users to "learn more"

 
 
SOLUTION PLANNING: THE BEGINNINGS OF PROTOTYPING

My next key step was to start identifying user scenarios and visualize them through wire and user flows. I found that it was most productive to combine the two visualizations, as it helped me connect and better understand the needs of the users, and how my solutions could tackle them.

​Affinity Maping Takeaways

  • It is important to also remember designing for the back-end users

  • There are 4 through-lines to user needs:

    • On-boarding

    • Education

    • Rating

    • Updating

  • Affinity maping benefits:

    • Helps to discover the scope of problems I am trying to solve well

    • Identifies the most efficient solutions and how to solve multiple at once  

​User Flow Takeaways

  • Although each user may have similar goals, the specificity of these goals matter as their engagement plays different roles in the overall interface

  • Expanding on the scope, it is important to focus on end users (no user flow for FB Misinfo workers)

  • There are more steps in the user flow process than you think, and it's important to point all of these out to ensure an informed user experience  

ESTABLISHING DESIGN: Prototyping

Because Facebook has its own iconic identity and branding, I am choosing to focus on utilizing the brand resources provided by Facebook Design, as well as the existing interface of Facebook mobile, version 264.0. Below are my first round of design changes according to my user flows.