As Facebook works to stem the flow of inaccurate and false news, the company is finding that it’s not enough just to flag links to fake news stories.
On a conference call with reporters, Facebook announced today that it is ramping up its fact-checking efforts, most notably by introducing fact-checking procedures for photos and videos.
The company began the process yesterday in France, in partnership with French news organization AFP, and “will be scaling to more countries and partners soon,” product manager Tessa Lyons said, according to a transcript of the call.
Lyons also noted that since the company began working with third-party fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact and Snopes to flag certain stories as false, future views on flagged stories have dropped by more than 80 percent.
The blog post doesn’t specify whether Facebook will only be examining photos and videos shared by certain Pages, such as those promoted by political organizations. But, given that the purpose of the call was to highlight Facebook’s ongoing efforts around election security, its likely that the first photos and videos to be fact-checked will those that deal with election news.
The blog post also noted that the company will be “doubling down” on its efforts to partner with academics, technology companies, and other organizations to scale fact-checking processes. In particular, the post highlighted a partnership with the Associated Press in the U.S. that was announced earlier this month. Facebook will be working with Associated Press reporters ” in all 50 states to identify and debunk false and misleading stories related to the federal, state, and local U.S. midterm elections.”
When VentureBeat asked Facebook for more detail on how it will fact-check its photos and videos, a spokesperson pointed to Facebook’s current fact-checking system, which notifies users when a link they share has been flagged false by a fact-checker, and gives more context from third-party fact-checkers about the article and why it was flagged. Presumably a similar system will be used for photos and videos.