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Social media heads could face Commons 'fake news' probe

Social media bosses could be questioned over whether they are doing enough to stop "fake news".

The Commons Culture Committee is said to be on the verge of summoning the chiefs of Facebook, Twitter and Google to Parliament for an inquiry into the phenomenon, the Sunday Telegraph said.

It is thought to be discussing launching a formal inquiry internally and could begin holding sessions by the beginning of the summer.

Damian Collins, chairman of the cross-party committee of MPs, told the paper that some fake news stories were being distributed "maliciously" and sites had a responsibility to ensure their platforms were not being used to spread such content.

"Some fake news is presented to look like real news coming from real news websites," the Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe said .

"It can be difficult to distinguish between them.

"The concern is a fake story can get out and be distributed on the internet and become the received wisdom before the truth can get out.

"The truth is always trying to catch up with a fake news story."

He told the paper that there was a "responsibility to democracy" to ensure the social media platforms were not "being perverted to support the distribution of fake and malicious news".

"In a similar way, I think social media (companies) have a responsibility to ensure their platforms are not being used to spread malicious content," he said.

His comments to the paper come a month after a YouGov survey for Nextdoor found that more than two thirds of Britons believe companies like Facebook should do more to filter out misleading and fake news stories from what users see on their feeds.

There has been heightened concern in recent months over "fake news" being spread on social media sites during the US election.

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From Belfast Telegraph