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December 16, 2016

Penn website will help Facebook fight fake news among five organizations helping flag false stories on social media site

A fact-checking website run by the University of Pennsylvania is among five news outlets and organizations helping Facebook address fake news stories on the social media platform., which is run by Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center, announced Thursday it would be aiding in flagging made-up news stories on Facebook. The other organizations include ABC News, The Associated Press, PolitiFact and Snopes.

“We are pleased to work with Facebook to help combat fake news to the extent that we can,” Director Eugene Kiely said in a release. “We have been writing about viral chain emails and fake news about politics for nine years.”

Kiely noted that the site has limited resources and the site's primary mission is fact-checking statements made by politicians.

Facebook will send stories it has marked as suspicious, and if the website has debunked the claims in the story, it will provide links to fact-checking stories.

Under Facebook's new initiative to fight fake news, the five organizations will fact-check stories posted to the website. 

If a story fails the fact-checking test, the site won’t remove it, but it will be marked as "disputed," which will push it lower down users' news feeds.

TIPS: How to spot fake news – a primer from the folks at

Users can click to find out why a story is disputed. They'll still be able to share the story, but they'll be warned again about the content of the story if they do.

Facebook was widely criticized during the 2016 election for failing to do anything about bogus and biased news stories that circulated widely on the site. said it had debunked several false news stories during the campaign, including ones claiming that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump for president and that President Barack Obama had signed an executive order banning the Pledge of Allegiance.

Last week, the website released a video that provides some basic tips on how to spot fake news. It can be viewed below: