Facebook launch fact checking, downranks sites with stolen content

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By Idris Bakare

Facebook has said it will demote trashy news and other websites that illicitly scrape and republish content from other sources with little or no modification.

Speaking  at the lauch, Facebook public policy Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Akua Gyekye, explain that Facebook’s fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review.

“Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.”

Working with two partners, Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, a well-respected news organisation, both are part of a global network of fact-checking organizations, certified  by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.

Speaking on the partnership, Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager, Media Partnerships, Africa, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy said that “We’re pleased to partner with Africa Check and AFP to expand our fact-checking efforts into Nigeria, joining the recently launched South Africa and Kenya programmes. Fighting the spread of misinformation via news articles, photos and videos will help to build a better informed community and help verify the stories flagged by our community in Nigeria.”

Commenting on the partnership, David Ajikobi, Africa Check’s Nigeria editor, added that “Nigeria has experienced a surge in misinformation on social media, particularly about health issues not just limited to health risks and disease prevalence but also including purported cures and treatment.

The partnership with Facebook presents us as fact checkers a unique opportunity to tackle misinformation on this key platform.

We expect that as we move along, millions of Nigerians who get their news through Facebook will start seeing less content that may be socially harmful.”

In addition, AFP Global News Director, Michèle Léridon, said that “We are delighted with this new contract with Facebook in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya alongside Africa Check, which is renowned for its fact checking work in Africa.

The different initiatives set up by AFP in the fight against disinformation testify to the Agency’s expertise and credibility in the verification of information at a time when false news is proliferating.” he said.