Facebook Wants to Resist the Spread of Fake News in India using Fact Checkers
Facebook is stepping up its war on the spread of Fake News. The social network has partnered with an Indian fact-checking organization called BOOM, to aid its fight against the spread of fake news. The fact-checking pilot program was announced ahead of Legislative Assembly Elections to be held in the state of Karnataka next month.
BOOM, an independent digital journalism initiative in India, is certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network. Facebook explained that they “will be able to review English-language news articles flagged/reported on Facebook, check their facts, and rate its accuracy”.
How does this help fight Fake News?
When a flagged story/article is rated “false” by fact-checkers, it’s demoted to the end of the News Feeds to try & limit exposure. This helps prevent fake news and stories from spreading. Pages and profiles that repeatedly share such fake news will not only suffer monetization and advertising penalties, they will see a further limited distribution of their content. This, according to Facebook, is vital because some publishers have been abusing “clickbait” strategies to sell fake stories and make money off of them.
Facebook claims that reporting or flagging a fake news story reduces its distribution by 80 percent. Furthermore, the fact checker’s article will be shown in a “Related Articles” widget alongside the fake news in the News Feed. This will alert unwitting users/page admins to refrain from spreading an obviously false story.
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Facebook has partnered with third-party fact checkers in other parts of the world as well. As the social media giant is facing global outrage over its recently uncovered privacy & political issues, it makes sense to take every measure possible to (somewhat) make amends. After failing to curb the spread of fake news during the 2017 German elections and most notably, during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, Facebook has forged deals with fact-checking groups in the E.U, Indonesia, Philippines and the U.S.
The Indian launch, however, is significant given the massive 240 million+ user-base increasing every day owing to cheaper data and smartphone access. And Facebook will have to do everything in its power to combat the spread of fake news in the sub-continent as election season approaches.
We are beginning small and know it is important to learn from this test and listen to our community as we continue to update ways for people to understand what might be false news in their News Feed
This partnership with BOOM marks the pilot run of the program with third-party fact checkers in India, as Facebook’s press release notes.