Newstalk
Newstalk

10.31 20 Jan 2018


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Facebook has unveiled its latest bid to fight the spread of "fake news" by allowing users to rank trustworthy media outlets.

The social media giant will survey users to identify "high quality" news in a bid to tackle sensationalism and misinformation, its founder Mark Zuckerberg said.

Under the plans, Facebook users will be asked if they are familiar with a news source which appears on their feeds and whether they trust it.

The company, which has more than two billion monthly users, has been battling to stem the flood of so-called fake news and hoaxes which dogged the 2016 US presidential election.

Zuckerberg said he wanted the site's users - rather than Facebook executives or outside experts - to determine how news outlets rank in terms of trustworthiness.

"There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarisation in the world today," he wrote in a Facebook post.

"Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don't specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.

"That's why it's important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground."

The change - which is being tested first in the US from next week - will affect posts by media outlets and news stories that individuals share, Facebook said.

The quality of news on Facebook has been called into question since the 2016 US election campaign when users saw hoaxes saying Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump and a federal agent investigating Hillary Clinton had been found dead.

Some of the fake news is believed to have come from Russian sources.

It is the second major shake-up announced by Facebook this month.

Last week Zuckerberg said the company would change the way it filters posts and videos on its news feed to prioritise what friends and family share and reduce the amount of content from "businesses, brands and media".


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