Ben Jackson

Facebook takes the fight to fake news publishers

Facebook is turning to fact-checkers to fight fake news, BuzzFeed News reports:

The largest social network in the world is partnering with organizations that have signed on to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles to enable them to verify selected links being shared on Facebook and have those fact checks attached to the original link.

This is a great start in combating the problem of fake news spreading across the platform, as we saw in the run-up towards the US election.

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Here’s how it works: organisations vetted by the IFCN and approved by Facebook will have access to a special feed that lists stories that might be false.

Stories appear in this queue if users have reported them as fake, the viral nature of the link has aroused suspicion, or the source is ‘masquerading as a news site.’

One or more of the fact-checking organisations can then check a link in this queue. Stories judged as fake will be marked as ‘disputed’ in users’ news feeds and will have less viral reach.

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Inviting the experts to fact-check content is a smart initiative by Facebook. They should be credited for acting on fake news, although they could be criticised for passing the responsibility on to others.

But this is ultimately a good thing – I don’t want to be in a world where Facebook is the sole arbiter of truth on the news feed.

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

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Ben Jackson

Editor of The Jackson Review