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Pope Francis compares fake news to arousal by excrement

Pontiff says using media to spread disinformation is tantamount to sin.

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Pope Francis warned that spreading misinformation amounted to a sin.

Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis is warning about the dangers of spreading fake news, comparing the media's desire for scandal with an obsession with feces.

In an interview published Wednesday with the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio, the pope warned that spreading disinformation was "probably the greatest damage that the media can do." He went on to say that using the media for this purpose rather than to educate the public amounted to sin, according to Reuters.

The abundance of fake news on the internet in the lead up to President-elect Donald Trump's victory last month has become a hot button issue, entangling tech giants like Facebook and Google. Numerous allegations have been made that the fake news shared on the social networks helped Trump win.

The pope said these sins are comparable to coprophilia, an abnormal interest and pleasure in feces and defecation.

"I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into -- no offence intended -- the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true," he said.

"And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done."

The pope is no stranger to the fake news cycle. In July, a fantasy news website reported that the pontiff had endorsed Trump for president, which turned out to be a hoax.