Back in December, Facebook announced a process meant to combat the spread of dubious or fake news items on their site.  This involves allowing users to flag potentially inaccurate stories.  These stories will then be fact checked by third party organisations in Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network.

If found debunked, the content will be marked as disputed, with a corresponding link to an explaination.  The disputed story will be demoted in the News Fee and can’t be promoted.

The Guardian had found some of these disputed news alerts associated with a widely circulated but false story about “forgotten” Irish slaves in the US.  The story was circulating in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.

The screen shot that is seen above was taken by The Guardian.  The alert showed up in some markets, but not in others, which indicated that these alerts may not have rolled out yet.

The above image features Facebook mockups of the screens that users who flag a story as fake will initially see “Marl this post as fake news.”

Facebook said hat they wouldn’t remove the post or prevent people from sharing it, but the company did opt for the disputed content label, as shown above in The Guardian story.

Fake news on Facebook was cited by some journalists and analysts as having played a role in the outcome of the US presidential election. Some fake news stories were created by interests outside the US, in some cases for profit and in some cases to influence public opinion. It has also been a widespread problem in Europe.

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