Ahead of the general elections in India, social media giant Facebook has onboarded five new partners as a part of its third-party fact-checking programme to curb the spread of misleading and fake news.
The company has joined hands with the India Today Group, Vishvas.news, Factly, Newsmobile and Fact Crescendo for this initiative. As a part of this programme, the companies will check the facts of news stories shared on the social media platform and rate their accuracy.
According to the company, it works with third-party fact-checkers certified through a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), a unit of the journalism school, Poynter Institute.
Along with the new partners, the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company has also launched the programme in three new languages.
Under the programme, the companies along with previous partners such as BOOM Live and AFP, the Facebook partners will be responsible for checking content on the platform across six languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi.
If a fact checking partner rates a story as fake, then the social media company will reduce the distribution of the post by 80%. It also said that Facebook pages and domains which are found to share false news on regular intervals will not only find reduced distribution but will also lose its ability to monetise and advertise content.
It also reportedly introduced a process to check photos and videos in order to curb the spread of misinformation. Facebook which has nearly 294 Mn users in India, has been facing criticisms from across the globe due to the misuse of user data.
Facebook Cracks Down On Misleading Political Ads
In December 2018, the company announced that it will now vet every political advertiser on its platform. It said that any advertiser who wants to run an ad in India related to politics will need to confirm their identity and location along with details about who placed the ad.
The company is also planning to put a disclaimer on all political ads which will provide more information about who’s placing the ad, and an online searchable Ad Library for anyone to access.
Further, the company is also looking to introduce an offline verifying process to verify and identify the political advertisers in India. The company has informed all individual advertisers and agencies that they will have to submit scanned copies of address and identity proofs if they wish to advertise on Facebook.
Last month, it was also reported that Zuckerberg is planning to integrate Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and directly control the issues of the three entities. In order to gain the trust of the various government, he also plans to directly control the issues related to these three entities.
The platform’s power to influence political decisions was highlighted after the US Presidential elections after it was accused of spreading fake information and news to influence the voting choices.