Date
15 December 2017
Facebook will limit distribution of news reports about encounters with dinosaurs if enough members report them as hoaxes. Photo: Odditycentral.com
Facebook will limit distribution of news reports about encounters with dinosaurs if enough members report them as hoaxes. Photo: Odditycentral.com

Facebook to sideline fake news stories

Facebook Inc. said it has taken steps to clamp down on “hoaxes” and fake news stories, which can spread like wildfire on its online social network, Reuters reported.

The firm said Tuesday it has introduced an option to allow its 1.35 billion users to flag a story as “purposefully fake or deceitful news”. 

Facebook, however, said it will not remove fake news stories from its website.

Instead, an algorithm that controls how widely user posts are distributed will take into account hoax reports.

“A post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chose to delete will get reduced distribution in the News Feed,” Facebook said.

The firm cited stories about dinosaur sightings and research supposedly proving the existence of Santa Claus as examples of fake news stories.

Facebook said “satirical” content, such as news stories “intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire”, should not be affected.

The social network has become an increasingly important source of news: 30 percent of adults in the United States get news from Facebook, a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found.

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