June 19, 2018, 11:45 pm
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VERA Files to help fight fake news in Facebook

FACEBOOK yesterday announced the launch its third-party fact-checking program in the Philippines with VERA Files and Rappler.

(Disclosure: I’m a trustee and writer of VERA Files, a group that takes a a deeper look into current Philippine issues.)

As a Facebook announcement stated, the third-party fact-checking program is aimed at helping combat false news from spreading on Facebook.

“These partners have been certified through a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network and will review news stories on Facebook, check their facts, and rate their accuracy. 

“This program is in line with a three-part framework to improve the quality and authenticity of stories in the News Feed. Aside from Facebook’s Community Standards which regulate content shared on the platform, this program will also reduce the distribution of stories that undermine Facebook’s authenticity and will also provide people with more context on the stories they see. 

“We are committed to fighting the spread of false news and misinformation on multiple fronts, employing a variety of tools and tactics. They include disrupting financial incentives, taking action against fake accounts, applying machine learning to help diminish spam, and reducing the posts people see that link to low-quality web pages, providing people with easier access to additional perspectives and information. Partnering with third-party fact-checking organizations is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform,” explained Clair Deevy, Facebook’s Director for Community Affairs for APAC.”

“This is an important step in building greater digital literacy among Filipinos, and one we hope will help combat the spread of false news. Through Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program, stories that are flagged as false can be fact checked and rated for accuracy. This added feature will help flag users to think critically about stories they see on their News Feeds,” 

“With our shared goal of keeping the online space free from false information, we want to help Filipinos be more discerning of news they read online, and make them aware of the real life consequences of spreading falsehoods,” 

Aside from being able to flag potential false news stories, people will also be informed if a story they shared on Facebook is rated as false. Also, Pages on Facebook that repeatedly share false news will be seen less across people’s News Feeds.

“We know more work needs to be done and we are committed to fighting false news on Facebook. There’s no silver bullet solution, which is why we’ve deployed a diverse and strategic plan. We will also continue to expand our local digital literacy programs in the Philippines to help give more Filipinos the skills they need to identify accurate news from false news, and to think critically about what they share online,” added Deevy.

On VERA Files part, the partnership is a result of talks that started last year.

VERA Files has been doing Fact Check since the 2016 election campaign. We track the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunk them with factual evidence guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, a global alliance of fact-checkers committed to advance accountability journalism.

We are conscious of our responsibility as fact checkers. We also know the importance of our task.

It is important that decisions we make in our daily lives are based on correct information. Falsehoods cloud the mind and create confusion.

It is hoped that VERA Files’ fact-check partnership with Facebook will reduce falsehood in social media and result in an informed citizenry, a vital component of democracy.

***

Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
Email: ellentordesillas@gmail. com
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