Sci-tech

Facebook launches resource to help spot misleading news

Facebook launches resource to help spot misleading news

This week, users in 14 countries, including the USA, will see an alert above the News Feed several times over the next few days that links them to Facebook's Help Center where they can read "Tips to Spot False News".

When users open this tool, they will find more information and resources in the Facebook Help Center.

In a critical effort to tackle fake news on its platform, Facebook plans to pay fact-checkers to monitor news flowing through its feed, and is looking to educate its users how to identify untruths online as it faces mounting criticism for its current initiatives that rely on users flagging content.

"We know people want to see accurate information on Facebook-and so do we", Adam Mosseri, Facebook's vice president of news feed, wrote in a blog post.

The new feature will be available in 14 countries, including the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, the U.K., Philippines, Taiwan and Brazil.

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"Some false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humour or satire".

"False news isn't a new problem, and it's not unique to Facebook, but it's up to all of us to fight it", Facebook said in a statement.

Fake news became a serious issue in the USA election campaign, when clearly fraudulent stories circulated on social media, potentially swaying some voters. "Facebook was always very interested technology but not the social and civic implications of technology". While they are pressing Facebook to take more responsibility for the spread of disinformation, that also raises questions whether Facebook should become an arbiter of truth. The company recently announced that it had partnered with third-party fact-checking organizations like First Draft to help identify false news links, which are then flagged in the News Feed.

However, Moy said there is still a long way to go for Facebook and other organisations to properly tackle the issue of fake news. "They're trying to solve it".

"We need to move into a world where people are more sophisticated about what they read", Mr Mosseri said. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. Facebook says that it will continue to work towards this goal. This is apparent as the sites often flip-flop around opposing political candidates or ideologies, for example, or have multiple pages that support different candidates.