Facebook Fact Checking Initiative Launches in UK

Facebook Russian Fake News

Facebook will work with UK fact-checking organisation Full Fact to weed out fake news and misinformation on the platform.

Facebook has launched a fact-checking service in the UK to tackle misinformation on the social media platform.  

The company will work with UK fact-checking organisation, Full Fact, which will assist the firm by reviewing posts reported by users.  

Posts reported by users will be rated based on their accuracy and factuality, with some of the most dangerous fake posts being targeted. These include false information pertaining to terrorist attacks, election hoaxes and pseudo-medical stories published on the platform.  

The announcement follows the publication of a report which claims older Facebook users are more likely to spread fake news stories than younger users. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that around 11% of participants aged 65 and over posted fake or hoax news stories around the time of the 2016 US Elections – compared to just 3% of 18 to 29-year-olds.

Tackling Fake News 

In a statement, Full Fact confirmed its involvement with the firm: “We have some news: Full Fact will be fact-checking potentially false content on Facebook, as an initiative to reduce the spread of misinformation on news feeds comes to the UK.

“We’re going to focus on checking the most potentially harmful content—like health myths, fake stories after major emergencies or attacks or false content about how to vote in elections.”

Read more: Facebook Shared Users’ Private Messages with Third Parties

Facebook has ramped up efforts to tackle fake news and misinformation on the site over the past 18-months.  

Having been heavily criticised by politicians in both the UK and the US, the firm announced last year it had taken a stronger stance; deleting billions of offensive posts and spam in the space of six months.  

Hundreds of accounts which the firm believed to be spreading malicious fake news stories were also deleted in 2018.  

Other accounts were identified as state-backed accounts, aimed purely at spreading misinformation online.

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In late 2018, Facebook admitted it failed to implement the appropriate safety measures on its platform to prevent it being used as a propaganda tool in Myanmar.

The firm released an internal report which investigated the damage caused by social media in Myanmar. State officials and users across the country had used Facebook to incite hatred against the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority group.

Facebook News literacy manager, Sarah Brown, commented: “People don’t want to see false news on Facebook, and nor do we. We’re delighted to be working with an organisation as reputable and respected as Full Fact to tackle this issue.”

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