The company rolled out new tech it says can help automatically identify pages spreading fake news. Facebook is taking more steps to punish page owners outside of the US that target Americans with financially motivated hoaxes and misinformation.

The company told BuzzFeed News it has deployed machine learning that it says can automatically identify and reduce the reach of pages administered by people who target others elsewhere in the world with hoaxes in order to make money. This approach is squarely aimed at bad actors such as the now-famous Macedonians who run pages about US politics that targeted Americans with fake news during and after the 2016 US presidential election.

On Thursday, Facebook will announce this and other new measures to combat misinformation on its platform in a blog post and at the Global Fact fact-checking conference underway in Rome. Facebook works with third-party fact-checkers in 14 countries who review content spreading on the platform that’s been flagged as potentially false.

Once a checker rates a link, image, or video as false, Facebook reduces its reach and surfaces the resulting fact check as related content in the News Feed. As part of its announcement today, the company is also expanding a program that enables its fact-checking partners to debunk videos and images containing misinformation, and it is deploying technology to automatically identify and demote duplicate versions of false stories.

“Copycat hoaxes have been an increasing trend in 2017 and also into 2018,” Tessa Lyons, a product manager in charge of News Feed integrity initiatives, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. “Using machine learning we’re able to identify and demote duplicates of articles that were rated false by fact checkers.” The new technology’s focus on foreign-operated Facebook pages and duplicate hoaxes could deal a significant blow to spammers based in countries such as Macedonia, Kosovo, Pakistan, and elsewhere who target English-language Facebook users. Read more from…

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