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Halting the spread of Fake News

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Like Facebook hoaxes, such as the rumor that Facebook will charge if you don't make a particular status update, Fake News articles are harmful to social media. False information is spread too quickly, and often shared without much thought or time taken to research an article. While it's been a part of Social Media for years, it appears to finally reach a 'crisis' in 2016, especially with the US Election, where false information was created and shared by supporters of various political figures.

Star Trek DS9 - It's a Fake!

Top 50 Fake News Articles of 2016

This is not to be confused with misreported news, or satirical news.

It may be possible for a major news station to report on a story they truly believed was true, only to find out that they were misled. Usually a retraction is made at that point, apologizing for the mistake. It happens, and as long as the truth comes out, should not be considered Fake News.

Satirical news are purposefully fake news articles meant to poke fun at a topic and are not to be taken seriously. The most famous of these news sites is The Onion. Unfortunately, some people have been caught with their articles, believing them to be true and have shared them to their friends, and proceeded to make nasty comments about the article.

These sites should not be confused with fake news, which is created to mislead people on purpose for their own gain.

For a list of Satirical News Sites, check out the Wikipedia Article.

Some countries are beginning to legislate against fake news, choosing to fine Facebook themselves for spreading false information. Which is why Facebook has started to put in reporting tools for fake news.

If you see an article you may believe is fake, please do some quick googling. Usually if you search for the topic you can find articles relating to it, or articles that point out that it is indeed fake. Don't forget to check where the link was shared from, to be sure it wasn't a Satirical News Site.

If you still believe it is fake, then here is what you can do to report it:

Report Facebook Fake News
Click on the small arrow at the top right of a post
Click on Report Post (or Report Image)
Note: this post was just used for example :)

Report Facebook Fake News
Click on "I think it shouldn't be on Facebook" and hit Continue

Report Facebook Fake News
Select the option "It's a Fake News story" and click Continue

This is supposed to report the post you just selected to Facebook as Fake News. They are to review it and decide if they will take action against it or the person who posted it. Once you select "Fake News" and continue, you will be provided with additional options, such as hiding the post, or blocking the person who shared it. It's up to you if you would like to block the person or page. 

This is a very new feature of Facebook so time will tell if it will help.

But the best way to prevent the spread of fake news is to take a moment to read the full article or link, and take another moment to google for more information. If you find a story offensive or against your beliefs, but is not actually fake, then it is best to block that person or page. If someone posts something that violates Facebooks Terms, then you can report it as well.

Always, be wary of Facebook Hoaxes and Scams.

Happy New Year!


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