Facebook steps up its fight against 'fake news'

Fake news
Fake news has spread like wildfire over the past year. Photo credit: Getty

Facebook will send more potential hoax articles to third-party fact checkers and show their findings below the original post as it tries to fight so-called fake news.

The social media giant said in a statement on its website it would start using updated machine learning to detect possible hoaxes and send them to fact checkers, potentially showing fact-checking results under the original article.

Facebook has been criticised as being one of the main distribution points for fake news, which many think influenced the 2016 US Presidential election in Donald Trump's favour.

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

Facebook said in a separate statement in German that a test of the new fact-checking feature was being launched in the US, France, the Netherlands and Germany.

"In addition to seeing which stories are disputed by third-party fact checkers, people want more context to make informed decisions about what they read and share," said Sara Su, Facebook news feed product manager, in a blog.

She said that Facebook would keep testing its "related article" feature and work on other changes to its news feed to cut down on false news.

Reuters / Newshub.