Facebook to increase fact-checking ahead of EU elections

Friday, April 26, 2019

Facebook has expanded its use of independent fact-checking groups in Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections.

The social network is looking to cut down on misinformation and have said they will use five new groups to rate and review the accuracy of stories posted on the platform.

Facebook has been scrutinised in the on-going debate over the influence of social media on society, well-being and political interference in recent years, and has been heavily criticised for failing to stop misleading, offensive and upsetting content from circulating on the platform.

Facebook product manager Antonia Woodford said: "In our experience, once a story is rated as false, we've been able to reduce its distribution by 80 per cent.

"Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetise and advertise removed. This helps curb the spread of financially motivated false news.

"We remove accounts and content that violate our Community Standards or ad policies, reduce the distribution of false news and inauthentic content like clickbait, and inform people by giving them more context on the posts they see."

Ms Woodford said the fact-checking programme was part of wider Facebook efforts to improve the "quality and authenticity" of stories that appear in the site's News Feed.

The company has admitted greater regulation is needed for the tech industry and has said it will work with governments to introduce it.

The updated fact-checking programme will see the five new partners join a larger group of checkers focused on the upcoming European Parliament elections called FactCheckEU.

The new groups are Ellinika Hoaxes in Greece, FactCheckNI in Northern Ireland, Faktograf in Croatia, Observador in Portugal and Patikrinta 15min in Lithuania.

Words by Wesley Hudson

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