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Facebook Starts to Educate Users on How to Spot Fake News

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The danger of fake news

Facebook says that it's open to paying fact-checkers if that's what it takes to fight fake news. Facebook is going to feature this new tool at the top of News Feed for a few days to users in 14 countries.

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.

The project is the result of a collaboration with media literacy agency MediaSmarts to help Canadians filter their news feeds for fake content, a phenomenon that became a growing concern during and after the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

Adam Mosseri, vice president of news feed, said: "We think these tips will help people become more discerning readers, which is critically important as we're moving to a world where people need to be more sceptical about what they read to make sure they are not misled or lied to".

What could be more effective is a German plan to combat hate speech and fake news that Facebook does not like one bit. Facebook wants to help. Facebook points out that false news stories often carry catchy headlines, sometimes in all caps.

The company, for instance, is working with outside fact-checking and media organizations to identify false news as such.

It has pledged to make it harder for hoax news sites to generate ad revenue on the platform and to enable users to better detect which links are from trusted news sources.

While the so-called fake news phenomenon has manifested itself widely in the United States and parts of Europe - particularly around election campaigns - "in Canada it has not played out in the same way", Chan said.

"We have very much approached this as "tests", said Chan. "All of us - tech companies, media companies, newsrooms, teachers - have a responsibility to do our part in addressing it".

Facebook has been under pressure to combat fake news on its platform after claims it was used to sway voters during the U.S. presidential campaign. 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.

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