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Facebook moves against hoax content

Stories on dinosaur sightings should be thing of the past with latest user feature

Web, Entertainment, Facebook Incorporation

Facebook yesterday said it had introduced measures to reduce the number of "purposefully fake or deceitful news" stories on its pages, Reuters reported.

Facebook has 1.35bn monthly active users as of the end of September, 2014, according to its company news page. Now those users have the option to flag any content they suspect of being a deliberate hoax.

Over 80% of Facebook's users reside outside the US and the company is keen to stop false stories from spreading. Its distribution algorithm will now take into account any hoax reports when deciding how widely to distribute stories.

"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 said in a statement.

As examples of fake stories, Facebook highlighted tales of dinosaur sightings and research proving the existence of Santa Claus, but said that content clearly labelled as satire would not be affected by the new algoritm.