Facebook search results now include Wikipedia knowledge panels

Facebook appears to be testing adding Wikipedia knowledge panels to search results, according to reports from several users.

Based on screenshots shared on Twitter, this feature is reminiscent of Google’s integration with Wikipedia.

Here’s an example that was spotted a few days ago:

Just like in Google search results, the Wikipedia knowledge area in Facebook search displays key details about the entity being searched.

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You’ll also notice that there is a single Instagram link, which stands in stark contrast to Google’s search results that have links to all of the popular social media profiles.

Unlike Google’s knowledge panels, which link to a number of areas where people can learn more about an entity, Facebook tries to keep people in the Facebook ecosystem as much as possible.

Here is another example that looks like:

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I am able to replicate these knowledge boxes in Facebook search and can confirm that all the links keep users within Facebook.

For example, if you click on an entity under “See Also”, Facebook will load another set of search results with that entity as a new query.

It is not known to what extent this feature is deployed at this time, although Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that it is still in the pilot stage.

The pilot program is currently running in English on iOS, desktops and the mobile web.

Information is collected from publicly available data, including Wikipedia, about specific public figures, places and interests.

Why now?

Why Facebook now decides to include Wikipedia snippets in search results is an enigma, though the timing is suspicious.

Why is the timing suspect? Because Facebook has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks for its fact-checking policies.

Critics say Facebook should do more to prevent misinformation from its platform. Stopping the spread of disinformation can prevent it from potentially harming other users.

Some argue that Facebook should be more like Twitter when it comes to how it handles disinformation, but the company doesn’t see it that way.

In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said publicly that he doesn’t believe his company should be “the arbiter of truth.”

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After such a bold statement, it’s interesting how Facebook is now working to provide context on the searched entities.

What Facebook does is give users the resources to do their own fact-checking. It actually doesn’t make any changes to the platform or its policies.

And these resources are questionable at best, because relying on Wikipedia for accurate information is a slippery slope.

Anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, which leads to frequent cases of misinformation.

However, Facebook at least asks users “is this information correct?” “With the possibility of clicking on” yes “or” no “. Presumably, clicking the “no” button would give users the option to submit a correction.

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Then there is some checks and balances, but adding Wikipedia knowledge panels is unlikely to be enough to silence criticism of Facebook’s policies.

Although it may be enough to keep people somewhat informed on hot issues such as 5G, coronavirus and other topics that are often the target of disinformation campaigns.