Facebook is continuing its fight against fake news, with an advertising campaign in British newspapers. This switch to print media shows just how serious a problem Facebook considers fake news to be. The irony is that British newspapers aren’t exactly unbiased journals of record.
While British newspapers do some good work, most have clear political biases. For example, The Mail and The Express skew right-wing, while The Guardian and The Mirror skew left-wing. Still, this hasn’t deterred Facebook from launching a campaign against fake news in these very newspapers.
Tips for Spotting False News
In April, Facebook published a set of “tips for spotting false news”. These tips, which temporarily appeared at the top of people’s news feeds, offered common sense advice for determining what’s real and what’s fake when it comes to news stories shared on Facebook.
However, fake news isn’t only shared on Facebook, or even just online. Print media is just as guilty of spreading misinformation. Which is why Facebook has now published those same “tips for spotting false news” in British newspapers including The Telegraph and The Times.
The timing of this ad blitz in newspapers is no coincidence. The UK is holding a General Election on June 8th which will determine who will run the country for the next five years. So, one month from decision day, Facebook is reminding people not to believe everything they read.
Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK director of policy, told BBC News, “People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. To help people spot false news we are showing tips […] on how to identify if something they see is false.” The same rules obviously apply online and off.
The Fake News Phenomenon
This is an unusual step for Facebook to take. It makes perfect sense for the social network to teach its own users how to spot fake news on its own platform. However, it makes less sense for Facebook to educate newspaper readers to do the same. Still, it’s good advice we’d all do well to follow.
Can you spot fake news online or in printed media? Do you think the fake news phenomenon is being overblown? What do you think constitutes legitimate fake news? Does it have to be a made-up story? Or just biased reporting? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Cat Branchman via Flickr