The FBI has warned people not to trust “fake news” on social media or social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
The agency sent a warning to law enforcement officials in the U.S. on Friday to stay off of social media and platforms such a Twitter and Instagram.
The FBI said the warning is in response to “unwarranted claims and misinformation” on the internet, and that fake news and misleading information are “often more dangerous than real news.”
The warning comes just days after the FBI was criticized for sending an alert to law enforcement and the public on “fake accounts” being used to promote the sale of weapons.
The FBI issued a similar warning to officials in December and warned that the proliferation of fake accounts is a “significant risk” to national security.
However, officials in both the White House and FBI did not issue similar warnings to the public.
FBI Director James Comey is the highest ranking official in the Department of Justice to directly address the threat of “fake” news.
The warning also appears to come as a reaction to “fake stories” circulating on social networks.
While the warning states that there is “no evidence of direct ties” between social media posts and domestic terrorism or other violent crime, the warning notes that “information on fake accounts may contain false information, hoaxes, or misinformation, including, but not limited to, false claims about events or groups.”
In other words, fake news is often more dangerous than actual news.
“The threats posed by fake news can be devastating, particularly when it’s spread in a manner that encourages the dissemination of unsubstantiated, harmful information that harms our communities and undermines our trust in the information we receive on social and mobile platforms,” the FBI said in a statement.
In the warning, the FBI noted that “in some cases, fake accounts can have been created by a person who has already taken the identity of another, and who then spreads false information to people on social or other platforms.”
“Such false information can have a chilling effect on legitimate activity, and could even encourage individuals to commit acts of violence or other crimes,” the FBI said.
The FBI has not yet issued any specific guidance on how to respond to fake news.
However, the agency found that “failing to monitor and protect fake accounts poses an immediate threat to public safety, and we encourage all users of social platforms to follow best practices when dealing with such accounts.”