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Facebook starts new effort to filter out fake news

By
Ed Adamczyk
Facebook on Thursday began featuring additional related links to news stories on its website -- a measure to better limit the reach of false or inaccurate news stories. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Facebook on Thursday began featuring additional "related links" to news stories on its website -- a measure to better limit the reach of false or inaccurate news stories. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Facebook on Thursday began offering additional links to news stories as another method to help users discern false news and misinformation.

The changes are seen in Facebook's "related articles" feature, and are meant to better restrict inaccurate news without requiring the social media site to censor material.

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is focusing more on offering users a wider variety of information and perspectives on stories -- putting less emphasis on outright bans on misinformation.

The change will affect Facebook pages in the United States, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

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"We don't want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth," Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons said. "The fact-checkers can give the signal of whether a story is true or false."

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook was criticized for failing to rein in the spread of deliberately false information on the social network. After first resisting potential changes, Zuckerberg acknowledged Facebook's responsibility to deliver legitimate news stories.

Facebook has partnered with fact-checking website Snopes.com, which labels some stories as false from a Facebook-built database.

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Also, Facebook said its machine learning algorithm has improved its efficiency, meaning it will now send more potential false news to fact-checkers.

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"We will start using updated machine learning to detect more potential hoaxes," Facebook product manager Sara Yu wrote wrote in April, at the start of testing for the related news links. "If an article has been reviewed by fact-checkers, we may show the fact checking stories below the original post.

"People want more context to make informed decisions about what they read and share."

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