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Facebook removes hundreds of UK accounts as part of crackdown on fake information

The social network has come in the spotlight to confront “false news” in recent months, due to concerns about the effect it has on the elections both in both the US as well as Europe and concerns that it could undermine the trust of advertisers in Facebook as the Telegraph says.

This Monday Facebook is expected to announce a brand new campaign to fight fraudulent news across the UK just one month prior to the time when Brits vote. Facebook says it has implemented technology that can detect accounts that are spreading fake news or spam and also to identify patterns among accounts that post similar content and then deleting “tens of thousands” in the aftermath.

It will also remove suspicious articles from its websites and applications to ensure that users view them less frequently on news feeds on Facebook News Feed. The company is currently testing a technology to determine when users read an article, but don’t discuss it with their friends, indicating that it might be deceiving. Beginning on Monday, the company will be able to apply this changes in the UK and will put out a series of ads in newspapers that offer tips on how to recognize “false news”.

Facebook reported a 76 percent increase in profits over the past week, with an increase in advertising revenue indicating that this fake news controversy has not dampened optimism. But , lawmakers have suggested fiddling or regulating the company in the event it doesn’t address the issue.

Facebook’s tips to recognize it

  1. Be wary of headlines. The headlines for false news reports are usually attractive, and are full of capitals and exclamation marks. If the claims made in the headlines sound untrue or flimsy, they could be.
  2. Take a close look at the URL carefully. A lot of fake news stories copy authentic news sources through minor modifications on the address. You can visit the website to see if you can compare the URL with established sources.
  3. Verify the source. Verify that the story originates from a source that has an established track record of accuracy. If the story originates from a website you’ve never heard of, look up for their “About” section to learn more.
  4. Look out for strange formatting. A lot of fake news stories have grammar and spelling errors along with an ugly layout.
  5. Be sure to check the images. False news stories usually contain images or videos that have been altered. Sometimes, the image may be real but it is it is taken from context. You can conduct an internet search for the photo to discover the source.
  6. Make sure to check the dates. False news stories could contain timelines that do not make sense, or date dates that are incorrect or altered.
  7. Verify the facts. Review the sources used by the author to verify that they are true. The absence of evidence, or a dependence on experts who are not named could indicate fake news.
  8. Check out other reports. If there is no news outlet that has reported the identical story, it may suggest that it is not true.
  9. Does the story seem like a joke? Sometimes fake news stories are difficult to differentiate from humorous stories. Find out if the source is famous for its parody and if the details and tone suggest that it’s just for fun.
  10. Certain stories are intentionally misleading. Consider the facts that you read. And only share stories that you believe to be reliable.

Germany is threatening to penalize social media websites as high as EUR50m (PS42m) to stop propagating fake news, and an inquiry was initiated to investigate the issue in the Culture, Media and Sport committee prior to the time that elections were scheduled.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we,” the Facebook’s UK policies director Simon Milner said.

The company also announced collaborations in partnership with Full Fact and First Draft non-profit fact-checking organizations in order to fight fake news in the lead-up to the presidential election.

Chief executive of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg originally attempted to minimize the problem of fake news by saying it was only a tiny fraction of the stories that was published on the website. In recent months, however, the company has launched a number of initiatives that include limiting the advertising on fake news sites providing users with tips on finding fake news, and issuing alerts for stories that have been disputed.

The fear of fake news exploded during election time. US election, when there were claims that internet groups of the far right have spread falsehoods regarding Hillary Clinton to influence the voting. This has raised concerns that the June election and voting that are held in France and Germany could be affected.

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