Social Media

Facebook plans to pay fact-checkers and posts educational ads tackling fake news on its news feed

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

April 6, 2017 | 4 min read

In a critical effort to tackle fake news on its platform, Facebook plans to pay fact-checkers to monitor news flowing through its feed, and is looking to educate its users how to identify untruths online as it faces mounting criticism for its current initiatives that rely on users flagging content.

Facebook has formed partnerships with third parties such as Politifact, Snopes, AFP, BFMTV, L’Express, Le Monde and Berlin-based non-profit Correctiv to act as fact-checkers for news posted to the platform.

The initiative was outlined by Adam Mosseri, Facebook vice-president of product management for newsfeed, in a statement to the Financial Times.

Facebook Fake News

Facebook's fake news ads

"A commercial relationship is something that’s on the table and that we are very open to," he told the FT. "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."

What's more, the social media company is running a campaign in 14 countries for the next three days intent on helping “people become more discerning readers”.

While the company has rolled out on site features allowing the identification of disputed articles, (underlining how scrupulous it is as a source), it is now looking to enrich readers with tips on how to spot falsehoods.

As a result, it will look to guide users towards advice, urging them to be skeptical of headlines, to double-check URLs and sources, inspect dates, images and grammar to identify frauds.

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."

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He outlined the social network’s stance towards 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.”

It comes as media outlets chase transparency and better news values at a time when the president of the United States has declared war against media organisations he has dubbed as ‘fake news’. To this end the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism also attracted a $14m fund towards its News Integrity Initiative. Facebook is one of the contributors.

The site also recently introduced tools to combat revenge porn postings.

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