'Fake news' is stirring up prejudice and hatred and is a sign our culture is 'bending facts to suit particular interests,' according to the Pope.
The pontiff's stark warning was issued in a letter to young people around the world following an array of scandals.
'Social networks encourage contact between people who already think alike, precluding them from debate,' he said.
'These closed circuits facilitate the spread of fake news and false information, fomenting prejudice and hate,' the pope wrote.
'There are huge economic interests operating in the digital world, capable of exercising forms of control as subtle as they are invasive, creating mechanisms for the manipulation of consciences and of the democratic process,' he said.
The Argentine pontiff cited prolific Catholic teenager Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006.
'He saw that many young people, wanting to be different, really end up being like everyone else, running after whatever the powerful set before them with the mechanisms of consumerism and distraction,' the pope wrote.
'As a result, Carlo said, "everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies". Don't let that happen to you!'
'It is not healthy to confuse communication with mere virtual contact,' the pope wrote.
'Indeed, the digital environment is also one of loneliness, manipulation, exploitation and violence... blocking the development of authentic interpersonal relationships.'
In the wide-ranging document, the pope also warned of the dangers of historical revisionism, as exploited by increasingly powerful populist politicians.'
Read more: Pope Francis says 'fake news' stirs up hatred as he warns culture has 'lost its sense of truth and bends the facts to suit particular interests'
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