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Google and Facebook Fight Fake News in France

Tyrone Stewart

Google + Facebook Fake NewsGoogle and Facebook have both teamed up with French news organisations in a bid to fight against fake news, ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election in April.

The Google News Lab has collaborated with First Draft to launch CrossCheck. The project aims ‘to help the public make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption’. Facebook will support CrossCheck through tools and media literacy efforts.

“CrossCheck brings together expertise from media and technology industries to ensure hoaxes, rumors and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported,” said First Draft in an announcement. “With the French presidential election as its primary focus, journalists from organisations across France will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads or news sites.”

An initial group of 17 local and national newsrooms in France have joined the project including AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, Le Monde, Rue89 Bordeaux, Storyful, and more. Each newsroom will contribute their own experience, resources and knowledge to ‘ensure that accurate reports reach citizens across the country and beyond’.

The project will use several tools and tech platforms such as CrowdTangle, for early discovery and monitoring of social content; Spike, A NewsWhip technology for spotting and predicting breakout stories; Google Trends, for surface searches about candidates and campaigns in real time; and more.

First Draft says itself and Google will use what they learnt through their involvement with Electionland during the US presidential election in November 2016.

Meanwhile, Facebook has launched fact checking tools in France – after doing the same in the US and Germany. As part of this, Facebook has said it will work with AFP, BFMTV, L’Express, France Médias Monde, France Télévisions, Libération, Le Monde, and 20 Minutes, to reduce the amount of fake news on its platform.

Facebook will rely on community reports to weed out fake news. These reports will then be analysed and verified by the aforementioned media outlets. Once two of the organisations have classified a piece of news as false, the piece will be identified as ‘contested’ and users will be warned when interacting with the story.

Facebook also adds that any disputed information cannot be converted into advertising or be the subject of a sponsored post.