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Facebook rolls out fake news flagging tool

Tyrone Stewart

Facebook has introduced its new system for flagging fake news following the widespread criticism of the platform in its failure to combat inaccurate news during the 2016 US election.

As first spotted by Gizmodo, the flagging system – which Facebook first began testing in December – requires users to report stories that they believe may be fake. These stories are then reviewed by Snopes and/or PolitiFact and, if they find the story to be factually incorrect, it will be marked as disputed on the platform.  For the time being, this system is only available in the US.

Facebook says, on a help centre page only available to those in the US: “You may see that certain news stories are marked as disputed on Facebook. News stories that are reported as fake by people on Facebook may be reviewed by independent third-party fact-checkers. These fact-checkers will be signatories of the non-partisan Poynter Code of Principle. A story may be marked as disputed if these fact-checkers find the story to be fake.”

When Facebook began testing the flagging system in December it also looked at placing disputed stories lower in the News Feed, as well as removing the financial incentive behind many fake news stories.