New Facebook project aims to fight the spread of 'fake news'

While Facebook has dismissed claims that it is a "media company," the social network announced a new project to boost the credibility of information it circulates AFP

WASHINGTON —

Facebook announced Wednesday the creation of a Journalism Project aimed at fostering “a healthy news ecosystem” and curbing the spread of fake news.

The move comes with the world’s leading social network under intense pressure for allowing misinformation to flourish and sometimes go viral, with some critics claiming fake news affected the US presidential election.

While Facebook has dismissed claims that it is a “media company,” the social network said its new effort aims to boost credibility of information it circulates.

“We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive,” project director Fidji Simo said in a blog post.

“That’s why today we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry.”

Simo said the project will mean “collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.”

One of the elements will involve development of “new storytelling formats” and other ways to help news partners.

Part of this will include “hackathons” often used by Facebook, with developers from news organizations “to collaborate to identify opportunities and hack solutions.”

A second element will include “training and tools for journalists” that will help them use live video and other ways to connect with audiences.

The third element will be public education on “news literacy” and other efforts to help people determine news credibility.

“We will work with third-party organizations on how to better understand and to promote news literacy both on and off our platform to help people in our community have the information they need to make decisions about which sources to trust,” Simo said.

As part of this, Facebook will run public service ads in collaboration with the nonprofit News Literacy Project that will help people determine the veracity of news stories, and will work on research with Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

Simo said Facebook would continue efforts announced last month to “disrupt the financial incentives” for websites that create fake news.

“This problem is much bigger than any one platform, and it’s important for all of us to work together to minimize its reach,” she said.

“This is just the beginning of our effort on that front—we have much more to do. The Facebook Journalism Project Page will serve as a hub for our efforts to promote and support journalism on Facebook.”

© 2017 AFP

  • 0

    samwatters

    I would be more worried about Zuckerberg NOT sharing real news and such. There is a priceless video of Germany's Angelea Merkel asking Zuckerberg to not allow any content that speaks badly of the immigration situation in Germany. He complied until others pressured him to do otherwise.

  • 2

    dcog9065

    Not sure what exactly FB could actually do here, users only see stuff similar to what they have previously looked at or what their friends push and so only see what they want to see. The fact that FB does this and creates bubbles in which no one can escape is what makes FB so dangerous in the first place. I guess they could try and cut obviously fake news, but that would likely entail blacklisting sites which would then raise concerns of censorship. The frightening thing about any of this is that so many people get their news from FB in the first place..

  • 3

    Frederic Bastiat

    Fake news defined by Big Brother?

  • 0

    Redtail Swift

    Another euphemism for censorship.

  • -2

    Strangerland

    Another euphemism for censorship.

    It's only censorship if it's deleting real news. If it's deleting fake news it's simply garbage cleaning.

  • 1

    zones2surf

    There goes my posting of articles from the National Enquirer, Star.....

    Dang... and no more stories with headlines like "My Mother's Lover Is An Alien!"

  • 4

    bones

    Well if trumpy gets his way any news that he is unaware of,or disagrees with him will be labeled fake news.

  • 2

    miyakojimadan

    **Fake news defined by Big Brother? **

    No, defined by FACTS. I know you may be happy to live in a post-factual world but most intelligent people aren't.

  • 1

    Fred Wallace

    It's only censorship if it's deleting real news. If it's deleting fake news it's simply garbage cleaning.

    I'm curious what overseer will choose what's fake or not. Goodbye freedom of expression, welcome 1984!!

  • 1

    commanteer

    Very sad to see the younger generation generally trending in favor of censorship. The lessons of history always have to be learned all over again - the hard way.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    I'm curious what overseer will choose what's fake or not.

    It's not something that's opinion. If it's made up without any basis of fact, it's fake. If it's based on fact, it's not. No one 'chooses' whether it is fake, it's either fake or not.

    Very sad to see the younger generation generally trending in favor of censorship.

    It's only censorship if it's real news. If it's fake, it's simply getting rid of garbage.

  • 4

    kazetsukai

    The problem definitely is in DEFINING and IDENTIFYING what is "fake" and what can be "considered" and "labeled" as "fake news".

    At present there is no way to "determine" what is and is not fake news until much later when the facts are researched, investigated and confirmed. Even then the facts may not be collaborated and put into the proper perspective, since perspective means different views which inevitably will bring opinions and values into play.

    The biggest problem is that any news over the media is already a "selected" single perspective view of the reporter and the editorial staff to being with.

    The worst problem is that the public "may" actually believe that any news fake or real to be TRUE and REAL without the proper perspective and proper evaluation on his own, either because one do not know how to or have no resources to do so.

    That places the total responsibility on he part of the people in the media.

    Next to monitor and to remove such so called "fake news" is paramount to disaster as it totally infringes upon the 1st Amendment and because it can be used to "control" information and thereby control the minds of the public.

    That is worse than "dictatorship".

    No media, social and otherwise should be authorized to "screen" and "control" what is considered events that are worthy or unworthy as news. The public then must not allow such things to happen for their own survival.

  • -3

    Strangerland

    No media, social and otherwise should be authorized to "screen" and "control" what is considered events that are worthy or unworthy as news. The public then must not allow such things to happen for their own survival.

    The media and social networking should screen this. It's when the government does it that it becomes a problem.

  • 1

    Chop Chop

    The fake news comes from CNN, New York Times, Daily Mail and BBC and then some facebook users copy and paste on their fackbook page.

  • -2

    arrestpaul

    Wouldn't it be easier, and cheaper, if Facebook made it known that they have not verified ANY of the information posted on Facebook?

    Facebook could prominently post a warning that everyone who peruses Facebook should be aware that people have used Facebook to plant, create, and distribute fake/false news. Buyer Beware. Just because you read it here, that doesn't make it factual, or truthful.

  • -1

    turbotsat

    Facebook has its own problems ...

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/01/12/report-facebooks-senior-engineers-block-diversity-hires/

    12 Jan 2017 - A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Facebook failed to meet its own “diversity” goals because of the role of white and Asian engineers in final hiring decisions. ... Two former recruiters identified “a group of about 20 to 30 highly-ranked engineering leaders,” of which about two at a time would make final hiring decisions on candidates considered in candidate review process meetings. Bloomberg reported that the engineering leaders were nearly exclusively white and Asian men. ...

  • -1

    NZ2011

    Facebook is a private enterprise they can do whatever they want, its not an invasion of rights for them to make any policy they want.

    Make your own site, and do as you please, if you want to live in your personal echo chamber there are already clearly sites like brietbart which serve to re-enforce that side of the fence.

    However I praise them for trying to stem the tide of non-sense news.

    Sure there are subtleties in every situation but many things are demonstrably representative of the truth or not, if something is not then why not make that clear.

    Everyone is welcome to their opinion but can't see reason to flag something thats clearly not true if it can be shown to be so.

    However as I have stated before now that we have entered a frightening post-truth world where people think they have their own truth.....

  • 1

    Frederic Bastiat

    "No, defined by FACTS. I know you may be happy to live in a post-factual world but most intelligent people aren't."

    Absolutely must be supported by verifiable facts. Not by unsubstantiated accusations, innuendo, suppositions, allegations, etc. Hard, cold facts, please.

  • 1

    commanteer

    No one 'chooses' whether it is fake, it's either fake or not. It's only censorship if it's real news. If it's fake, it's simply getting rid of garbage.

    No, censorship is censorship. And while some news can be called fake, such as claiming a celebrity is dead when they are not, the most important news is filled with nuance. When such a dominant news source as Facebook or Google starts defining the "truth" and banning the "fake" we are all in trouble.

    We have had "fake" news ever since the printing press was invented, and sometimes it is harmful. But when the government (or by proxy, news media cooperating with the government) starts to censor news according to their determination of truth, the eventual harm will be 1000 times worse than any fake news story could cause.

    People who cheer the advancement of this censorship are cheering for their own (and their children's) enslavement. Which is why it is sad.

  • 0

    Citizen2012

    Facebook is so hypocrite, THEY decide the content which is pushed to their users , their so called "Top Stories" so if you read a fake news on your feeds, Facebook decided to show it to you.

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