Facebook tells UK users how to spot fake news in full-page print ads

An ad from Facebook and fact-checking charity Full Fact in The Guardian on Monday 8th.
Photo by James Vincent / The Verge
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Facebook is moving its campaign against fake news off the web and into print. This week, the social media network has taken out full-page ads in a number of British newspapers (including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Times), warning readers to think twice about stories they see in their News Feed.

The ads offer the same advice that the social network has highlighted online. Users are told to “be skeptical” of headlines they read, especially if they include “shocking claims” that “sound unbelievable.” Readers should also look out for “look-alike URLs” says Facebook and its partner, fact-checking charity Full Fact, and try to corroborate the story they’re reading with other outlets’ reports. The ads end with the tagline: “Together, we can limit the spread of false news.” Facebook itself is not mentioned, apart from the inclusion of the company’s logo at the top of the page.

The ads are appearing in UK newspapers a month before the country’s general election on June 8th. Facebook has been criticized for letting fake news proliferate on its network, and many commentators believe that this phenomenon has had a malicious effect on politics, sowing distrust and deepening partisan divides. Facebook ran similar print ads warning against fake news in France last month, just before the country’s presidential election this weekend, in which centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron beat the far-right Marine Le Pen.

Facebook’s director of policy in the UK, Simon Milner, told the Financial Times: “People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news. To help people spot false news, we are showing tips to everyone [...] how to identify if something they see is false.” As well as its full-page ads the, company also says it’s deleted “tens of thousands” of fake UK accounts that were spreading spam and fake news.

Comments

I fail to understand how ‘fake news’ is such a modern phenomenon, we’ve had a tabloid press for decades now and they’ve rarely dabbled in any other kind.

Because now you don’t even have to buy anything, just have some gullible friends and their stories will appear in your trusted feed.

These articles also heavily rely on confirmation bias. There’s not too many people in the world that are of the opinion that a woman in Arkansas can give birth to a two-headed pigman, of that the government is stockpiling UFO’s in Roswell. But there are millions upon millions of people who think the (insert opposing political party) is out to get them and their families and destroy the (insert home country) that they love. I have seen people who I would consider smarter than your average bear share fake news simply because the headline the same political views they do. We all know people aren’t likely to read the actual text of the story they share. So all you need is a story that appeals emotionally to people’s bias and suddenly you have fake news being shared everywhere. Politics are an extremely emotional affair, so people tend to react with their feeling brain and not their critical thinking brain. That’s why politics have been broken for far longer than Obama or Trump have been in office. People can now just more easily share in its brokenness.

This. Also the Oatmeal summed it up nicely:

I once searched Sean Hannity to look up who this guy was and Google started pushing bunch of fake stories on Sean Hannity on my feed. I hope Google takes in initiative in this direction.

I thought the fake news problem wasn’t that groups are pretending to be established news organisations spewing complete clickbait bullshit purely to get clicks and thus ad money but that due to their sheer volume that BS is completely taking over people’s feeds. Obviously tabloids have been a thing for a long time and if you see a headline like this then you know to take it with a pinch of salt, but the fake news problem is when that level of insanity is everywhere at a time such as an election when knowing the actual facts is pretty key.

Tip 1: If you read it on Facebook.

It would have been nice if they’d used the UK English spelling of sceptical.

This will do very little. I’ve spent years trying to teach users to spot spam/malicious email yet they still furiously click the link that says they’ll get $20,000,000 from a Nigerian prince. You can’t teach people this shit; they’re either smart enough to spot it, or they aren’t.

Very easy:
If it comes from the Daily Mail or The Sun it’s probably fake.

Shouldn’t they run these ads in ass-wipes like The Sun or The Daily Mail, rather? Seems like they’re preaching to the choir at this point.

Maybe they figured the people reading the daily Star are beyond hope. That ad has too many words for them anyway.

They’ve chosen to run those ads in the wrong papers though, preaching to the converted there. I would say readers of those papers are already more questioning and critical. I hope they expand these ads to cover the likes of The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Express.

Are people really that dumb that they need these tips? Yeah I suppose they are, how depressing lol.

Anything that says Theresa May is ‘strong’ or ‘stable’.

It’s really easy to avoid 80% of fake news, ditch facebook. I like the bit that says we haven’t…..wrong !!

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