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Social network responds to criticism

Facebook deletes accounts in fake news crackdown

FacebookFacebook has taken steps to crack down on fake news by deleting thousands of suspect accounts.

The social network has responded to concerns and threats of penalties by introducing technology to better identify accounts that spread spam or false information.

Germany has threatened to impose financial penalties on social media sites of up to €50m (£42m).

Facebook’s response comes a month ahead of the UK General Election and other elections which have been susceptible to the phenomenon.

The company has also become concerned that it could undermine advertisers’ confidence, although it reported a sharp increase in turnover last week.

The company has provided the following advice to help users spot fake news:

  1. Be skeptical of headlines. The headlines of fake news stories are often catchy, and contain lots of capital letters and exclamation marks. If claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they may well be.
  2. Look closely at the URL. Many false news stories mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
  3. Check the source. Ensure the story comes from a source with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from a site you have not heard of, check their “About” section to learn more.
  4. Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news stories often contain spelling and grammatical errors, as well as an awkward looking layout.
  5. Check the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can do an internet search of the image to find out where it came from.
  6. Check the dates. Fake news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates which are wrong or have been altered.
  7. Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm they are accurate. Lack of evidence, or a reliance on unnamed experts may indicate false news.
  8. Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it could indicate that it is false.
  9. Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humourous articles. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
  10. Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories that you read, and only share articles which you know to be credible.

 

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