Irish 'fake news' raised in the Seanad

There are concerns over commentary by anonymous users

Irish 'fake news' raised in the Seanad

The Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad | Image: Matt Rourke/AP/Press Association Images

Ireland has its own problems with 'fake news', according to two members of the Seanad.

Fine Gael's Ray Butler says community pages on Facebook are being taken over and used to spread political smears against local representatives.

He and several other members want social media site Facebook to be held more accountable over commentary posted on its website by anonymous users.

Ned O'Sullivan of Fianna Fáil  says he has also been the subject of unfair comments online.

"I had personal experience of that in another Seanad when I famously, or perhaps infamously, made a comment about the seagull situation in Dublin.

"And what I had to undergo - and my family had to undergo - on the blog pages for a week afterwards was horrendous.

"It was actually terribly upsetting, because at the time I didn’t quite understand that type of comment”.

Last November, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.

"Our goal is to show people the content they will find most meaningful, and people want accurate news.

"We have already launched work enabling our community to flag hoaxes and fake news, and there is more we can do here.

"We have made progress, and we will continue to work on this to improve further."

Facebook has given German users the ability to flag potentially false stories.

Additional reporting: Jack Quann