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Facebook launches Journalism Project to arrest spread of fake news

17-January-2017
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Facebook launches Journalism Project to arrest spread of fake news

Facebook’s latest ‘Journalism Project’ launched last week will look to strengthen Facebook’s ties with the news industry.  The mandate that Facebook has set for itself is to collaborate with news organisations to develop products and learn from journalists to become better partners, and work with publishers and educators on equipping people with the knowledge they need to be informed as readers in the digital age.

In a bid to tackle the proliferation of fake news and put in place strict verification procedures, Facebook will increase its commitment to First Draft. First Draft is a coalition of platforms and 80+ publishers that works together to provide practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify, and publish content sourced from the social web. Facebook will help them establish a virtual verification community and more. The company recently also launched a program to work with third-party fact checking organisations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles to identify hoaxes on Facebook. “This problem is much bigger than any one platform, and it’s important for all of us to work together to minimise its reach,” Fidji Simo, Director of Product at Facebook, said in a blog post.

Facebook plans to collaborate with the news industry to shape how local news is shared and displayed on the social media site. It will also work on finding ways to enhance and drive subscription models and monetisation options for its partners. The company will also launch a program globally where Facebook engineers will host sessions with developers from news organisations to collaborate to identify opportunities and hack solutions, the post said.

Facebook will also be looking at evolving its Live, 360, Instant Articles, formats to better suit the needs of the news industry, and work with the industry on building entirely new ones formats. “We’re going to start testing this using Instant Articles, so that readers can start to see multiple stories at a time from their favourite news organisations,” Simo said in the post.

As part of the project, Facebook is conducting a series of e-learning courses on using Facebook products to journalists. Facebook will expand these trainings to nine additional languages, and partner with Poynter to launch a certificate curriculum for journalists soon. It will also address the issue of news literacy by working with “third-party organisations on how to better understand and to promote news literacy both on and off our platform to help people in our community have the information they need to make decisions about which sources to trust,” the post said.

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