Facebook updates News Feed to take on fake news stories

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Facebook on Tuesday announced it has updated its News Feed with a new feature that will work to take on “hoaxes” and fake news stories.

The social networking giant said it has now added an option into the News Feed that will allow users to flag a story as “purposefully fake or deceitful news.” The option will pop up on the screen once the user clicks to hide the story.

If a large number of users flag a post as a false news story, Facebook’s News Feed will act to reduce its distribution. The company said that it won’t remove fake news stories from its website, but will couple it with a warning message. The update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.

“A post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chose to delete will get reduced distribution in the News Feed,” Facebook explained.

The social networking giant has confirmed that the update will not affect any post that offers satirical content intended to be humorous and sometimes clearly labelled as satire. Furthermore, vast majority of publishers on the social network will not be affected by the update, but only those few who frequently post hoaxes and scams will see their distribution decrease.

Facebook cited stories about dinosaur sightings and scientific research reports proving the existence of Santa Claus as examples of fake news stories.