The BBC has announced plans to help tackle fake news, alongside major tech firms.

The corporation has devised a scheme alongside Google, Twitter, and Facebook in what it calls a ‘crucial step’ in fighting disinformation.

It is working on an early warning system which will allow the publishers to collectively stop the spread of fake news, particularly in cases where the news threatens human life or disrupts democracy during an election.

It said the emphasis will be on moving quickly and collectively to “undermine disinformation” before it spreads.

“Some of the most widely shared real news stories are being less widely-shared than the leading fake news stories,” said Damian Collins, the DCMS Sub-Committee on Disinformation chairman on BBC News.

“It is being presented in such a sophisticated way that readers often find it difficult to distinguish whether a story is real fake.”

BBC Director General Tony Hall commented: "Disinformation and so-called fake news is a threat to us all. At its worst, it can present a serious threat to democracy and even to people's lives.

"This summit has shown a determination to take collective action to fight this problem and we have agreed some crucial steps towards this."

The BBC said more detailed plans will be announced in future.

In June Twitter acquired fake news start-up Fabula AI in its own battle against the spread of disinformation.