Facebook rolls out fake news education programme

Be sceptical, social media platform advises

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


Would you know how to spot fake news on Facebook? The social media platform is rolling out a new educational programme to try to help users weed out the false stories from the genuine.

Irish users will see a notice appear at the top of news feeds, offering users tips on how to identify false stories. Checking the URL of a story to weed out bogus web links, seeking additional sources for the story and investigating the source’s reputation are just some of the tips shared, along with watching for odd formatting on websites.

“Improving news literacy is a global priority for Facebook, particularly so for us here in Ireland given the upcoming referendum in May,” said Niamh Sweeney, Head of Public Policy, Facebook Ireland. “We understand and share people’s desire to see accurate information online and introducing this tool is an important start to improving news literacy in Ireland. However, we know it is just the beginning and we have more work to do to ensure Facebook’s News Feed is a place for authentic communication.”

Facebook has also run the tips as ads in several newspapers. The tips were developed in consultation with US non-profit First Draft, which is dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information online.