Facebook’s ongoing efforts to tackle fake news and misinformation have been dealt a blow following the withdrawal of two ‘fact-checking’ agencies.
The Associated Press (AP) and Snopes have pulled out of the social network’s initiative, which aims to tackle misinformation.
Both organisations said they will no longer check articles for Facebook. AP told the BBC it was in “ongoing conversations” about working with the company in the future.
The pull-out follows Facebook’s announcement it would ramp up efforts throughout 2019. In January, a UK-based fact-checking organisation, Full Fact, announced a deal with Facebook to review posts reported by users.
A spokesperson for Facebook told the BBC that “fighting misinformation takes a multi-pronged approach from across the industry” and that the firm is “committed to fighting this through many tactics”.
The spokesperson added: “The work that third-party fact-checkers do is a valued and important piece of this effort. We have strong relationships with 34 fact-checking partners around the world who fact-check content in 16 languages, and we plan to expand the programme this year by adding new partners and languages.”
In a blog post on the Snopes website, company founder David Mikkelson said the firm won’t rule out working with Facebook in the future.
“We hope to keep an open dialogue with Facebook to discuss approaches to combating misinformation that are beneficial to platforms, fact-checking organisations and the user community alike,” the company said.
Snopes added that it needed to assess “that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication and staff.”
The company’s decision to pull out of the fake news initiative could have financial repercussions, which it said will be considered.
“Forgoing an economic opportunity is not a decision that we or any other journalistic enterprise can take lightly in the current publishing landscape,” the firm said.