Facebook Wants to Help You Spot Bogus News Stories

Over the next few days, you'll see a banner at the top of your News Feed offering 'tips for spotting false news;' just click 'Learn More' to educate yourself.
Facebook Wants to Help You Spot Bogus News Stories
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Facebook is hoping to curb the spread of fake news with a new educational tool designed to help people spot bogus stories.

The social network will feature this new tool at the top of people's News Feeds for the next few days. Look for a banner offering "tips for spotting false news" and click "Learn More" to educate yourself.

Facebook advises users to be skeptical of headlines, look closely at URLs, investigate the source of news and watch for unusual formatting. Other tips encourage users to consider the photos in articles, inspect the dates to make sure story timelines make sense, check the author's sources, look at other reports and consider whether the story is a joke. Finally, Facebook recommends that you should only share news you know to be credible.

That might seem obvious, but sites peddling made-up stories spread like wildfire last year. Scammers took advantage of Facebook and Google ad revenue programs by creating websites that posted stories they knew to be fake, but earned them money every time someone clicked or shared. Google and Facebook cracked down on this practice, but not until after the 2016 presidential election.

"News Feed is a place for authentic communication," Facebook's VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri wrote in the announcement. "Improving news literacy is a global priority, and we need to do our part to help people understand how to make decisions about which sources to trust."

Facebook developed this new tool with the help of First Draft, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about and addressing "challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age."

This new tool comes after Facebook and Mozilla this week teamed up with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, academic institutions, nonprofits and other organizations to launch a $14 million consortium dubbed the News Integrity Initiative, aimed at "helping people make informed judgments about the news they read and share online."


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