Facebook this week announced new efforts for tackling the spread of fake news on the site.
The social network says its systems are getting better at identifying fake accounts, which they attempt to do by analysing certain patterns of activity, such as repeated posting of the same content.
Facebook is monitoring the ways in which users interact with articles too. “We’ve found that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, that may be a sign that a story has misled people in some way,” it says.
The company, along with Google, has also revealed that it is supporting Full Fact and First Draft, in order to address the spread of misinformation ahead of the UK general election next month.
Central to its efforts, however, is an educational notice designed to help Facebook members spot fake news. In April, Facebook pinned a box to the top of users’ News Feeds, directing them to a post about spotting fake news.
Though that box has now gone, Facebook believes its tips page is a crucial resource in the ongoing fight against fake news.
Below are the site’s tips for spotting fake news stories, which users can report by clicking the arrow in the top right hand corner of a post.
Be skeptical of headlines
False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.
Look closely at the URL
A phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
Investigate the source
Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their "About" section to learn more.
Watch for unusual formatting
Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.
Consider the photos
False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.
Inspect the dates
False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.
Check the evidence
Check the author's sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.
Look at other reports
If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it's more likely to be true.
Is the story a joke?
Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story's details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
Some stories are intentionally false
Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.
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