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UK Parliament to Launch 'Fake News' Inquiry, Cites Threat

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    This photograph taken in Paris on Friday Dec. 2, 2016 shows stories from USA Daily News 24, a fake news site registered in Veles, Macedonia. An Associated Press analysis using web intelligence service Domain Tools shows that USA Daily News 24 is one of roughly 200 U.S.-oriented sites registered in Veles, Macedonia, which has emerged as the unlikely hub for the distribution of disinformation on Facebook. The stories shown here are bogus.

    A British parliamentary committee is launching an inquiry into the spreading "fake news" phenomenon.

    The Culture, Media and Sport Committee probe begins Monday. It will study "the widespread dissemination, through social media and the Internet" of phony news stories.

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    Pippa Middleton and James Matthews kiss after their wedding at St Mark's Church in Englefield, England, on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Middleton, the sister of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, married hedge fund manager James Matthews in a ceremony Saturday. Her niece and nephew, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were in the wedding party, along with sister Kate and princes Harry and William.

    (Published Saturday, May 20, 2017)

    Committee chairman Damian Collins says the trend is a "threat to democracy" that undermines public confidence in the media.

    He called on major tech companies to do more to prevent the spread of fake news on their platforms.

    "Just as major tech companies have accepted they have a social responsibility to combat piracy online and the illegal sharing of content, they also need to help address the spreading of fake news on social media platforms," he said.

    Concerns about bogus stories have risen since the U.S. presidential election, during which fake news stories garnered wide attention. Some derogatory stories making false claims about Hillary Clinton may have damaged her candidacy in its final weeks.

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    (Published Sunday, May 21, 2017)

    The committee plans to study the dividing line between legitimate commentary and propaganda and to gauge the impact false stories have on public understanding of the world.

    It will also study whether computer-generated algorithms could be used to remove fake news stories from news feeds.