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Facebook has faced heavy criticism for being one of the main distributors of fake news, which many believe influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The feature is now being more broadly rolled out within the USA and will be extended to Germany, France and the Netherlands.

With machine learning technology, Facebook said it was now possible to identify a higher volume of potential hoaxes on the social network and direct them faster to a group of third-party fact checkers.

"We don't want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth", Facebook News Feed integrity product manager Tessa Lyons told TechCrunch.

She added that Facebook would keep testing its "related article" feature and work on other changes to its news feed to cut down on false news. "That should provide people easier access to additional perspectives and information, including articles by third-party fact checkers", Facebook had stated at the time of the initial release.

Now, officials are moving forward with the latter initiative and rolling it out more broadly.

After U.S. President Donald Trump's election, Facebook was criticized for allowing false information to go viral, potentially resulting in misinformed voters. The related articles will be viewable before users click on the posted story and may include additional reports on the same topic from different sources or articles by third-party fact checkers.

Social media giant Facebook is increasing its efforts to battle fake news by sending more suspected hoax stories to fact-checkers and publishing their findings online.