Current Issues: fact-checking on social media


Fact-Checking – An Effective Weapon Against Misinformation?

In recent news, over one hundred fact-checkers from around the world gathered in Menlo Park, California this past week to participate in a Fact-Checking Partner Summit held by Facebook. The event was held to gather third-party fact-checkers together to provide each other with experiences and feedback relating to fact-checking.

To start off the meeting, Facebook announced to the attendees the three tracks they are using to fight misinformation. Facebook stated that they are focused on targeting and taking down fake accounts through technology, spammers that have financial reasons to post false content in the platform, and also on providing content and context to its users. There were also two major announcements made at the meeting. First, the International Fact-Checking Network announced their joint endeavor with Facebook, The Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative. This initiative was created to “support the development of projects focused on new and creative ideas around fact-checking, misinformation, and disinformation.” Second, Facebook announced their plans to partner with Agence France Press to fact-check content in Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru.

After the announcements, fact-checkers from various countries including Brazil, India, Kenya, Spain, Israel, and the United States took the stage to share case studies, experiences, lessons they’ve learned, and feedback regarding fact-checking in their countries. In one case, India presented on false ads and posts regarding a pill created by a fake doctor. In another case, Spain showed how easy it is to mix migration and false numbers to create a false narrative within their country.

Fact-checking and fake news topics have been seen all over the news in recent months and it will only continue to get worse. In my opinion, I think technology/social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram need to take more action toward fact-checking content. It is extremely important to monitor this as it can drastically effect large populations of people, especially those who are not as good with technology. It is also important to realize that not everything you see on the internet is real and that individuals should conduct their own research on information they see online. It would be cool to see companies provide free crash courses for users on fact-checking and spotting misinformation.

Over 100 fact-checkers are in Menlo Park for Facebook’s Fact-Checking Partner Summit. So how did it start?


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