Face­book launch­ing re­source to help iden­tify fake news

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Bar­bara Or­tu­tay

NEW YORK — Face­book is launch­ing a re­source to help you spot false news and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion that spreads on its ser­vice.

The re­source, sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ous ef­forts around pri­vacy and se­cu­rity, is ba­si­cally a no­ti­fi­ca­tion that pops up for a few days. Click­ing on it takes you to tips and other in­for­ma­tion on how to spot false news and what to do about it.

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. Some sites might look like real news at first glance, but their “about” sec­tions in­form the vis­i­tor that they are in fact satire.

Adam Mosseri, vice pres­i­dent of News Feed at Face­book, said he hopes peo­ple will be­come “more dis­cern­ing con­sumers” of news. The new fea­ture is part of a broader plan by Face­book to clamp down false news sto­ries.

Face­book has been “work­ing very hard to fig­ure out how to get their arms wrapped around this,” said Lucy Dal­glish, jour­nal­ism dean at the Univer­sity of Mary­land.

“Face­book was al­ways very in­ter­ested in tech­nol­ogy but not the so­cial and civic im­pli­ca­tions of tech­nol­ogy. It’s like they have be­come cit­i­zens.”

The com­pany, for in­stance, is work­ing with out­side fact-check­ing and me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions to iden­tify false news as such. And once they are iden­ti­fied, Face­book is try­ing to dry up the “eco­nomic in­cen­tives” of false news sites by mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to buy ads on Face­book.

Mosseri said most of the false news con­tent on Face­book is from spam­mers try­ing to seek a profit and not, for ex­am­ple, po­lit­i­cal pro­pa­ganda.

JEFF CHIU/AP 2014

Face­book is work­ing with out­side or­ga­ni­za­tions to iden­tify false news, which it says is mostly from spam­mers.

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