Facebook introduces 'satire' tag for hoax news stories

Facebook has confirmed that it will now begin warning users when stories appearing in their news feed are satirical.

Stories posted on the social network will now be tagged as "[Satire]" in order to prevent them being mistaken for genuine news articles.

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In an interview with the BBC, a Facebook spokesperson claimed that the new feature has been requested by a number of users.

"We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed," the social network said in a statement.

"This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."

Facebook has not yet confirmed how many sites will have their content tagged, or if the new measure will remain in place permanently.

In the past, a number of satirical stories run by the likes of the Onion in the US and the Daily Mash in the UK have misled social network users and even professional news outlets.

Recently, the Onion wrote an article titled, "Tips for being an unarmed black teen," in response to the recent shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, which has angered some Facebook users.

Similarly in 2012, a Chinese newspaper reported an article by the same website proclaiming North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as the "sexiest man alive."

These incidents, and others where satirical articles have been taken as fact, are catalogued by the website, Literally Unbelievable.

Facebook will be hoping that its new feature helps restore user confidence in how the firm handles its news feed.

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It was revealed in June that the company manipulated the news feed of almost 700,000 users to see how they would react to emotionally positive or negative posts.