Faceboook has partnered with news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) to curb the spread of fake news including photos and videos on its platform ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reports PTI. AFP has been certified through the Poynter Institute’s non-partisan International Fact Checking Network.

Manish Khanduri, Facebook News Partnership Lead (India), said that after a story was rated as false by the fact-checker, it would figure lower in the News Feed, “significantly reducing its distribution”.  This, in turn, is expected to stop the hoax from spreading and reduce the number of people who see it.

Facebook has run similar initiatives in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and the US.

Facebook’s partnerships and initiatives

  • In September, Facebook announced that it would screen photos and videos for fake news across 17 countries through its 27 independent third–party partners.
  • In April this year, Facebook announced a partnership with Mumbai-based fact-checking website BOOM.
  • Facebook rolled out a feature that provided more information on both publishers and articles that users saw in their News Feeds. This feature, however, was only available to users in the US.
  • In August 2017, Facebook said that it would ban ads from pages that repeatedly shared fake news.

Flak over fake news

Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp, have been mired with the distribution of rumours and fake news. This has led to the death of two dozen people in India since April. Both have been criticised by the Indian government.

  • Facebook and Instagram, have been asked to put a system in place for prompt sharing of information sought by law enforcement agencies for investigation purposes.
  • The social media giants also received notice from the Madras HC recently when law enforcement agencies informed the court that the companies were not sharing Internet Protocol logs.
  • The court went as far to ask the Centre why it was not banning Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter and other social media majors in the country if they were not adhering to the law of the land and assisting the investigating agencies here in solving cyber crimes.

The Indian Government told WhatsApp to provide the government with the location and identity of people who send messages that lead to real-world violence. India also told WhatsApp to station its grievance office in the country instead of in the US.