Facebook promises new fake news measures

Facebook is to step up its efforts to fight fake news by sending more suspected hoax stories to fact-checkers and publishing their findings online.

The company said in a statement on its website it would start using "updated machine learning" to identify potentially false stories.

At present it finds potentially false stories through a mixture of artificial intelligence (AI) and user detection. These are then sent to independent fact-checkers who place a flag next to hoax stories to alert readers.

It has also just launched a new feature in four countries that will publish alternative news links beneath problematic articles.

These stories would not be "direct responses" to fake articles, but factually accurate reports that offered an alternative, a spokesman said.

Facebook has been criticised as being one of the main distribution points for so-called fake news, which many think influenced the 2016 US presidential election.

The issue has also become a big political topic in Europe. French voters were deluged with false stories ahead of the presidential election in May, and Germany backed a plan to fine social media networks if they failed to remove hateful postings promptly, ahead of elections there in September.

On Thursday, the firm rolled out a new "related articles" feature in the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The feature, which the firm has been testing since April, places links to other news coverage beneath highly popular or questionable stories, offering users "more perspectives and additional information".

 

Photo: 123RF