Facebook is trying to teach its users how to spot fake news

Do you know how to identify fake news?

The media and tech industry has been freaking out of late over the spread of misinformation and false news reports online — and Facebook has admitted some of its users might need a helping hand to identify it.

The social network announced on Thursday that it is adding a box to the top of the newsfeed for users in 14 countries that offers to provide tips on “spotting false news.”

It’s not a permanent addition to Facebook — it will only be there for a “few days,” the company said in a blog post.

If the user decides to click on it, they’re taken to Facebook’s “Help Center,” where it provides 10 tips for spotting fake news.

One is to investigate the source — is the website “unfamiliar”? “Look at other reports” is another suggestion — are credible news outlets corroborating the story in question?

(You can see the full list of tips below.)

Facebook is clearly keen to be seen as acting proactively in the fight against misinformation online. The social network has come under heavy criticism over its central role in the spread of fake news, with some detractors even suggesting that it played a part in the election of Donald Trump.

Since the November 2016 US presidential election, Facebook and other tech companies have taken some steps to try and deal with the problem. Facebook has integrated fact-checking organisations into its platform to flag up disputed stories, while Google has kicked sites peddling fake news off its ad network — depriving them of revenue, and on Friday added a fact check feature to its Search and News tools.

Facebook is under particular pressure to deal with fake news in Europe. This week, Germany approved a bill to fine social networks up to €50 million if they don’t remove fake news quickly enough.

Here’s the full list of tips from Facebook on spotting fake news:

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