Facebook has announced that it has initiated partnerships with third parties such as Snopes, Politifact, AFP, BFMTV, LeMonde and L’Express to act as fact-checkers for news and updates posted onto their multi-billion user platform.
Mr Adam Mosseri, (Facebook vice-president of product management for newsfeed) gave a brief interview to the Financial Times outlining some of the details of this new project.
“A commercial relationship is something that’s on the table and that we are very open to”. “It could depend on individual organisations, but we want to engage responsibly and if that means a financial arrangement, we are very open to it.” he noted to the Financial Times.
This is not currently the only initiative that Facebook is engaging with. It is also currently running a 3 day project in more than 14 countries with a main aim of helping “people become more discerning readers” as the BBC reported a few days ago. This campaign will include an ad which will appear at the top of users’ news feeds with links and advice on “how to spot fake news” and report it directly to Facebook. Whilst the Social media company has already implemented a variety of new features that allow common users to find and report fake news it is additionally now also seeking to educate users on how to spot them.
It is consequently providing users with advice on looking at an article’s URL, investigating the source of a story and thinking more critically about whether an article is a a true fact or actually more of a joke.
It also advises users to be more “sceptical of headlines”, as false news stories “often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points”.
Mosseri said: “We think these tips will help people become more discerning readers, which is critically important as we’re moving to a world where people need to be more sceptical about what they read to make sure they are not misled or lied to.”
He emphasized their firm position towards (some may say against) disinformation: “News Feed is a place for authentic communication. Improving news literacy is a global priority, and we need to do our part to help people understand how to make decisions about which sources to trust.”
However, the appointed Fact-Checkers are causing some controversy online as can seen in the image attached below posted on the 11th of March, 2017.
It remains to be seen what level of an effect these measures will have but they are most definitely very encouraging. Seeing that Facebook is doing all it can currently to not only cease the dissemination of fake news but to also educate users in order to create a culture of mutual respect based on facts.
In a world where the creation of fake news seems to -somehow- become the norm in order to attract attention or even cause unrest and take the eyes of real issues (see Trump here) it is positive seeing large organizations such as Facebook doing all they can to detach themselves from the norm.
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