DUBAI: Facebook is aiming to tackle the spread of fake news and misinformation online via multiple avenues, including paying into a $14 million fund to promote news literacy and increase trust in journalism.
As part of its efforts, Facebook is jointly funding a new nonprofit called the News Integrity Initiative which will be based at the City University of New York.
Others contributing to the fund include Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Ford Foundation.
Recent polls show the public’s trust in the news industry at a low, the Associated Press reported last week.
False news and misinformation, often masquerading as trustworthy news and spreading on social media, has gained a lot of attention since the 2016 US presidential election. Companies like Facebook are trying to address the issue.
In a statement on Facebook last week, the company’s News Feed Vice President Adam Mosseri said: “We know people want to see accurate information on Facebook – and so do we.
“False news is harmful to our community, it makes the world less informed and it erodes trust. It’s not a new phenomenon, and all of us — tech companies, media companies, newsrooms, teachers — have a responsibility to do our part in addressing it.”
He added that Facebook was working to fight the spread of false news in three areas, including “disrupting economic incentives because most false news is financially motivated; building new products to curb the spread of false news; and helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.”
Mosseri went on to outline why each approach was being taken, saying that the company was taking steps to limit the spread, and therefore economic incentive, of fake news by “making it as difficult as possible for people posting false news to buy ads on our platform through strict enforcement of our policies” and “better identifying false news through our community and third-party fact-checking organizations.”
The senior executive added: “We’re building, testing and iterating on new products to identify and limit the spread of false news,” including “testing ways to make it easier to report a false news story if you see one on Facebook, which you can do by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post. Stories that are flagged as false by our community then might show up lower in your feed.”
In order to help people make more informed decisions, the social media giant is “collaborating with news organizations to develop products together, providing tools and services for journalists, and helping people get better information so they can make smart choices about what they read” through the “Facebook Journalism Project.”
Mosseri also highlights the News Integrity Initiative, the mission of which is to “advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world and to better inform the public conversation,” he said.
(With the Associated Press)