Facebook waging fake-news fight ahead of United Kingdom election

In the UK, Facebook initiated a British newspaper advertising campaign to warn users of the danger of fake news. Facebook's algorithm determines what you see where in your news feed.

"These changes help us detect fake accounts on our service more effectively - including ones that are hard to spot", Facebook told Tech Crunch.

In April, Facebook finally unveiled its plan to combat the spread of disinformation on its site. It also suggests, "Look at other reports", because, "If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false". Although the action doesn't stop people from writing misleading content, it's a step in the right direction to keep elections from being swayed by networks of false accounts.

Furthermore, Facebook has also removed tens of thousands of fake accounts and has made improvements to its system to recognise these types of accounts by identifying patterns of activity.

"It's a way to show the critics they are honest and trying to take measures to distance themselves from the perception Facebook is basically a channel that can be misused very easily", Niklas Myhr, an assistant professor of marketing at Chapman University, told NBC News.

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Facebook's latest campaign in Britain comes after vocal criticism of the network's role in spreading false information during the 2016 USA presidential election, as well as during a series of elections in Europe this year. It's also decreased the rankings of stories that are shared on the platform, read, but then not shared by others.

As the FT adds, "the 10 tips include watching out for fraudulent web addresses and manipulated photos, as well as considering the source and tone of a story, such as whether it is a joke".

Simon Milner, Facebook's director of policy for the United Kingdom, said: "People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we". The move comes as the social network increases measures to prevent the spread of fake news ahead of next month's general election.

In response, Mr Milner said Facebook was working with fact-checking organisations to analyse content around the General Election. They will be announcing more details soon.

"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", the statement said. "They know what goes on within their platform".

  • Darren Santiago