Facebook deploys tools to automatically detect pages spreading fake news

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Credit: https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-sci-tech/79473/mark-zuckerberg-vows-to-fix-facebook

Facebook is intensifying efforts towards reducing or possibly eradicating fake news. This time around, the social media giant is deploying machine learning to sustain the pressure on pages spreading fake news. On Thursday, the company announced a number of new measures that involve using machine learning to identify fake articles that are copied and pasted by various accounts.

Emphasis this time around will be placed on overseas Facebook pages that often target accounts in the US with financially motivated hoaxes and misinformation. The machine learning tool, according to Buzzfeed, will not only identify pages operated by people who target unsuspecting users for the purpose of making money, it will also reduce their reach.

Copycat hoaxes have been an increasing trend in 2017 and also into 2018,” Tessa Lyons, product manager in charge of News Feed integrity initiatives said per BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. Using machine learning we’re able to identify and demote duplicates of articles that were rated false by fact checkers.

Facebook’s machine learning tool will identify such accounts based on previous behaviors among other signals that will be used.

These pages often copy and paste content [from other sources], and another signal is that the website themselves are covered in low-quality ads, Lyons said. We also see a common pattern in that page admins based in one country are targeting people in other countries. These admins often have suspicious accounts that are not fake but are identified in our system as having suspicious activity.

Last month, Papua New Guinea announced that Facebook will be temporarily shut down for one month. This, according to Aljazeera, is to allow the country identify fake accounts and block fake news.

The country’s minister in charge of communication Sam Basil said per the report that the one-month shutdown would “allow information to be collected” about Facebook users who use the website for illegal activities. Those identified as using the social networking site for activities such as uploading of pornography and spreading libelous information will then be removed, the minister said on Wednesday.

This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly, said Basil.

Reacting, Facebook per AFP said it had reached out to PNG authorities and was “working to address their concerns.”

Prior to the last general election in France held last year, Facebook removed or suspended tons of accounts that belong to extremists or content violators. The action went a long way in placating authorities in France in particular and Europe as a whole. Facebook in recent times have been under immense pressure in Europe as governments threaten to throw the books at the social media behemoth unless moves are made to deal with fake news and extremism.


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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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