Facebook will fight fake news with real newspaper ads (and more)

The social-networking company will also enlist the help of researchers, who'll study misinformation on the platform.

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Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti
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Facebook app icon on a smartphone, with a motion blur added to the image.

Facebook is cracking down on fake news.

Mladen Antonov/Getty Images

Facebook is continuing its fight against fake news with three new initiatives, the company said Wednesday.

The first is a news literacy campaign that offers tips on how to identify fake news, as well as information on what the social network is doing to combat the issue. The information will show up at the top of News Feed and in print ads, beginning in the US and then spreading to other countries over the next few months, the company said.

Facebook will also recruit researchers who'll look into the volume and effects of misinformation on the platform. The social-networking company will provide the researchers with funding as well as access to "privacy-protected data sets." 

Lastly, Facebook launched a short film called "Facing Facts," which offers a look at company's fight against fake news. 

The world's largest social network has been accused of spreading fake news and misinformation, which some argue helped elect President Donald Trump. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who initially said the claim was "crazy," later shared the company's plan to get rid of fake information on the site. In January, Zuckerberg said he was committed to fixing Facebook this year.

Though the decision to run print ads may seem like a surprising move for an online platform, Facebook has done it before. In March, Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in several US and UK newspapers to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from as many as 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the political consultancy.

Facebook also ran a TV ad last month called "Facebook Here Together," which aired soon after Zuckerberg testified before Congress on data privacy concerns and censorship. The ad tried to reassure users that Facebook would do more to keep them safe and protect their privacy. Other companies, including Uber, have also used TV ads to apologize to consumers.

In a post Wednesday, Facebook Product Manager Tessa Lyons outlined the company's strategy for stopping misinformation. It includes removing accounts and content that violate the company's Community Standards or ad policies, cutting back the distribution of false news and things like clickbait, and giving people more context on posts they see. This'll significantly decrease the reach of those stories, she said.

"False news is bad for people and bad for Facebook," Lyons said. "We're making significant investments to stop it from spreading and to promote high-quality journalism and news literacy."

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