LONDON May 8 Facebook has launched a
British newspaper advertising campaign to warn users of the
dangers of fake news, in the latest drive by the social media
giant to tackle malicious information ahead of a national
Facebook has come under intense pressure to tackle the
spread of false stories, which came to prominence during the
U.S. presidential election last year when many inaccurate posts
were widely shared on it and other social media services.
Ahead of the June 8 parliamentary election in Britain, it
urged its users in the country to be sceptical of headlines that
look unbelievable and to check other sources before sharing news
that may not be credible. It said it would also delete bogus
profiles and stop promoting posts that show signs of being
"We have developed new ways to identify and remove fake
accounts that might be spreading false news so that we get to
the root of the problem," said Simon Milner, Facebook's director
of policy for the UK.
The effort builds on the company's recently expanded
campaigns to identify fake news and crack down on automated
profile pages that post commercial or political spam.
Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of the
first round of its presidential election last month and uses
outside fact-checkers in the country. It has also previously
taken out full-page ads in German newspapers to educate readers
on how to spot fake news.
With the headline "Tips for spotting false news", the
adverts in Britain listed 10 ways to identify whether a story
was genuine or not, including looking closely at a URL,
investigating the source, looking for unusual formatting and
considering the authenticity of the photo.
Facebook said it had taken action against tens of thousands
of fake accounts in Britain after identifying patterns of
activity such as whether the same content is being repeatedly
"With these changes, we expect we will also reduce the
spread of material generated through inauthentic activity,
including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that
is often shared by creators of fake accounts," Facebook said.
Social media sites including Twitter and YouTube
are also facing pressure in Europe where governments
are threatening new laws and fines unless the companies move
more quickly to remove extremist content.
Facebook has hired more staff to speed up the removal of
videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts.
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Janet Lawrence)