Facebook to tackle fake news with educational campaign

Facebook is launching an educational tool as part of measures it is taking to counter fake news

Facebook’s page on fake news
Facebook’s page on fake news

Social network Facebook will be offering its users tips for spotting fake news as part of its latest attempt to address concerns about its role in the spread of false information.

The new “educational tool” is part of a multi-pronged strategy which will also see a growing range of “signals” from user behaviour and third-party fact checkers used to make misinformation less prominent on the social network.

“We’re against it and want to take it seriously,” said Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president in charge of the news feed. “It’s a large problem, predates Facebook, predates the internet. We need to take a multi-pronged approach.”

For three days starting on Friday, users in 14 countries will have an ad appear at the top of their news feeds linking to advice on "how to spot fake news" and report it.

The campaign is "designed to help people become more discerning readers", the social media firm said.

The initial rollout will target the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Myanmar, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, and Canada, but Facebook said it would also look at pushing it out globally.

Facebook has limited its definition of fake news to articles that set out to deceive, contain objectively provable falsehoods and pretend to be from a “legitimate” news site. The input of third-party fact checkers such as Snopes and PolitiFact will only be used to limit the spread of stories thought to fit that definition, which is deliberately narrow to avoid accusations of politically motivated censorship.