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How do you beat fake news? Transparency, says Wikipedia co-founder

Openness is the "kryptonite" to false information spread on social channels, according to Jimmy Wales.

Fake news may have played a role in the 2016 US presidential election, experts say.

If open collaboration worked for Wikipedia, it could work for combating fake news.

This is the suggestion of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales in a guest column Friday in The Guardian. He suggests the human element is crucial to discerning false from factual stories -- enhanced formulas for social networks and other aggregator sites to weed out fake news aren't enough.

And the way to get there, said Wales, requires people committed to sharing facts in open dialog and in open online spaces.

Sound familiar? It should. It's a similar structure to Wikipedia's free online, open-source encyclopedia.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other networks have been cracking down on fake news after coming under fire for helping spread it. Fake news became such a hot topic in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election that then-President Barack Obama warned of fake news' power to destroy democracy.

"Social media feeds, doctored videos and instant messaging" are the biggest culprits in spreading deliberately incorrect and misleading information, Wales wrote about the rash of stories posing as legitimate news that don't actually meet journalistic fact-checking standards.

"We need this visibility," Wales added, "Because it sheds light on the process and origins of information and creates a structure for accountability." You can find Wales' column here.

Read next: Here's how to avoid falling into the fake news trap

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