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Pope warns against 'fake news'

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By Katy Dartford
Pope warns against 'fake news'

Pope Francis has condemned the "evil" of fake news, saying journalists and social media users should shun and unmask manipulative "snake tactics" that foster division to serve political and economic interests.

In the first document issued by a pope on the subject, called "The truth will set you free", the pontiff said.

"We can recognise the truth of statements from their fruits: whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or, on the other hand, they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results," the document says.

The pope continued:

"A weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news. In today’s world, theirs is, in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission. [...] Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s lives." 

The Vatican says the message is part of the Pope's World Communications Day, but some at St. Peter's Square say the Pope was probably sending a message to Donald Trump and other world leaders who have been using the phrase "fake news."