Facebook launches tool to help users spot false news

The social network will feature this new tool at the top of people's News Feeds for the next few days. So I'm not convinced that this will be seen as a game changer in the battle to make Facebook a place you go to find the truth, rather than wallow in your friends' prejudices.

Tips to spot false news include looking closely at website addresses to see if they are trying to spoof real news sites, and checking websites' "about" sections for more information.

With a federal election looming in Germany, Facebook is beginning to attach warning labels to made-up stories seen by German users of the web site. Now, the world's largest social-networking platform is making good on its promise to educate users about fake news.

The new feature is part of a broader plan by Facebook to clamp down false news stories, which gained outsized attention in the months leading up to the 2016 USA presidential election.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has unveiled a new way to combat fake news on its site.

In the U.S., Facebook uses Snopes and PolitiFact, fact-checking organizations that are part of the Poynter International Fact-Checking Network, to help viewers sift through news stories.

"It could depend on individual organisations, but we want to engage responsibly and if that means a financial arrangement, we are very open to it", Adam Mosseri, the company's vice-president of product for news feed, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "All of us have a responsibility to curb the spread of false news", Facebook said.

The Silicon Valley-based tech firm also announced this week it would take part in a multimillion-dollar consortium of universities, other tech companies and foundations largely centred in the United States that hopes to teach people how better to spot fake news articles.

"We have very much approached this as "tests", said Chan. Facebook is also working on more ways to flag to users that a post may be false, for example by making it easier for the community to report misleading content.

Facebook's latest step is an "educational tool" that will pop up at the top of the news feed.

  • Joey Payne