Facebook recruits fact checkers in fake news battle
The site gets tough with money-hungry scammers after being criticised for not doing more to stop hoaxes during the US election.
Facebook says fact-checking organisations will help it fight fake news, with users seeing news feed warnings over dubious stories.
If the article is examined and believed to be fake an alert will appear next to the link.
Clicking on the alert will bring up an explanation on why the story’s accuracy is disputed.
The fact-checking services have not yet been named but Facebook says they are all signed up to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Practice.
The code’s five principles include “a commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness” and “transparency of sources”.
Facebook was criticised for not clamping down on the heavily partisan fake news during the US election, with claims that it could have swayed a significant number of voters.
One of the most well-known examples is a story which claimed the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump for president.
Others that went viral included Mr Trump calling Republican voters “the dumbest” in America, and an ailing Hillary Clinton being replaced by a body double.
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Reports from users and “other signals” will be used to decide which stories to send for fact checking.
The site is also testing ways to make it easier to report hoaxes.
Clicking on the right-hand corner of the post allows a user to report “fake or deceitful news” – and they also get a link to message the person who shared the story.
Disputed stories may now also appear lower in a news feed.
Some of those behind fake news are thought to have made big money from advertising after pulling in big audiences.
One of the biggest sources of the hoaxes was reported to be a small town in Macedonia, with scammers raking in cash and having no regard for the politics of their stories.
Facebook says it is trying to fight this by stopping “spoof domains” – web addresses that imitate real news sites and encourage people to click.
The site it was concentrating its fake news fight on the “worst of the worst” but that it was conscious not to become “arbiters of truth”.