Facebook’s role in the spread of so-called “fake news” has been under greater scrutiny in recent times, with many believing that the social network played a decisive role in both the U.S. presidential election and the U.K.’s EU referendum. And this is why it, among other technology companies, has been investing in initiatives to show that it is actively trying to thwart spurious news sources on its platform.
As part of this effort, Facebook has today taken out full-page ads in U.K. newspapers ahead of the general election that’s scheduled to take place next month, designed to educate the public on how to spot fake news online.
Appearing in nationwide titles including the Guardian and the Telegraph, Facebook’s “Tips for spotting false news” ad is similar to the one it published in France last month, and covers areas such as being skeptical of misleading headlines, spotting manipulated images, and checking the URL of the story. Though the advice offered doesn’t always help — for example, in “Consider the photos,” the text reads: “You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.” Anyone requiring advice on how to spot fake news through a newspaper ad likely isn’t tech savvy enough to know how to do that, or even what it means.
Alongside these ads, Facebook also revealed that is has deleted “tens of thousands” of accounts that it believes were deliberately spreading fake news, while it’s also updating its algorithms to demote articles it suspects of carrying dubious messaging.
This latest move comes hot on the heels of a number of other efforts from tech firms to kill the spread of fake news. Back in February, Google and Facebook teamed up to help French newsrooms combat ‘fake news’ ahead of the presidential election, while last month Google expanded its ‘Fact Check’ tag globally to help publishers highlight news that has been independently verified. And a couple of weeks later, YouTube revealed plans to educate U.K. kids on how to combat fake news, echo chambers, and hate speech.
This follow’s Germany’s recent approval of a new bill that may lead to technology firms being fined for failing to remove content such as fake news and hate speech.