Facebook Took Steps to Protect the Upcoming U.K. Elections From Fake News

The social network ran ads in newspapers including The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph

Much like it did before the elections in France Sunday, Facebook is taking steps to curb fake news and delete fake accounts prior to the upcoming elections in the U.K.

The social network announced in a Facebook Security note last month that it took action against some 30,000 fake accounts in France, and it ran full-page ads in several newspapers in that country—including Le Monde, Les Échos, Libération, Le Parisien and 20 Minutes—containing tips on how users can spot fake news, similar to the information it began sharing atop its News Feed earlier in April.

Facebook took similar steps in the U.K., with BBC reporting that ads ran in newspapers including The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph providing 10 red flags for users of the social network to watch out for in determining whether posts are real or fake.

And Facebook told BBC “tens of thousands” of fake accounts have been removed in the U.K.

Facebook U.K. director of policy Simon Milner told BBC the social network was working with third-party fact checkers Full Fact and First Draft, adding:

People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. 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. To help people spot false news, we are showing tips to everyone on Facebook on how to identify if something they see is false. We can’t solve this problem alone, so we are supporting third-party fact checkers during the election in their work with news organizations, so they can independently assess facts and stories.

The social network told Natasha Lomas of TechCrunch it is monitoring repeated posting of the same content or spikes in messaging activity, flagging accounts displaying those traits, adding:

These changes help us detect fake accounts on our service more effectively, including ones that are hard to spot. We’ve made improvements to recognize these inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity without assessing the content itself. For example, our systems may detect repeated posting of the same content, or an increase in messages sent. With these changes, we expect that 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.

Image of fake news and facts keys courtesy of keport/iStock.

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