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article imageBBC partners with Facebook to take on threat of fake news stories

By Jack Derricourt     Jan 13, 2017 in Internet
In an effort to fight back against the wave of fake news stories affecting the Internet and social media worldwide, the BBC is expanding its efforts to combat false stories impersonating valid journalism.
The news group will add to its Reality Check series and partner with Facebook to help interrogate fake news articles.
The need to combat fake news stories has never been clearer. While the debate over how long we’ve been dealing with the issue has begun to unwind, the effect of false stories upon legitimate sources of media —and democracies in turn — has reached overwhelming proportions. The term ‘fake news’ has quickly become a buzzword, being flung at all manner of media sources. As a recent story discussed, readers are not as discerning of fake news as many would like to believe.
Decoding what is real and what has been constructed purely for website clicks or pushing propaganda is becoming much harder for consumers. And as President-elect Donald Trump made abundantly clear earlier this week, understanding what constitutes fake news is becoming ever more important. In order to tackle the issue, the BBC is setting up a permanent group to call out fake news sites on a regular basis.
The BBC has been publishing their Reality Check series for several months now, in an effort to call out marketed falsehoods, posing as legitimate news articles. The series started up in the wake of Brexit, signaling a desire by the news agency to rein in some of the wilder claims circulating online after the referendum. A recent announcement by news chief Jeff Harding promises to expand the way Reality Check provides its critique of deliberately misleading stories to the public:
“The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either… We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media… And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats – online, on TV and on radio – that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.”
Harding also mentioned that the BBC intends to work with "Facebook, in particular" to assess how best to tackle the problem.
While sites like Facebook and Google are beginning to act against profit-driven falsehood factories, there remains a lot to be done. Hopefully, credible media voices like the BBC can provide a strong voice of opposition to illegitimate news providers posing as established, factual story creators.
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