Facebook Runs Ads to Help Users Spot Fake News

By Stu Woo Features Dow Jones Newswires

Facebook Inc. ran advertisements in major British newspapers on Monday that advised on how to spot false news stories ahead of June's U.K. elections.

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The ad, titled "Tips for spotting false news," offered 10 suggestions. These included examining an online article's web address, making sure the story wasn't satirical and being skeptical of the headline.

"If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are," said the ad, which took up a full page in newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Guardian.

Criticized for doing little to curb the spread of misinformation during 2016's U.S. presidential race, Facebook has stepped up its effort in Europe amid a series of votes in the region.

The company said in April that it would place a false-news notice--similar to the one that appeared in newspapers Monday--on Facebook itself and had developed new ways to identify and remove tens of thousands of fake accounts.

Facebook's director of U.K. policy, Simon Milner, said Monday that the company couldn't itself solve the misinformation problem, but would support third-party fact checkers in the run up to the British election on June 8.

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"People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we," Mr. Milner said.

Write to Stu Woo at Stu.Woo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 08, 2017 10:32 ET (14:32 GMT)