Facebook open to more partners on news-checking

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Director of Community Affairs for Asia-Pacific Clair Deevy - - Photo by Santiago J. Arnaiz

By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo, Reporter

FACEBOOK said it is open to more organizations to partner with for fact-checking news links in the Philippines.

Director of Community Affairs for Asia-Pacific Clair Deevy said they welcome more parties doing the third-party checking of news links on Facebook.

Those eligible to partner would have to be accredited by Poynter Institute for Media Studies as part of its International Fact Checking Network.

“We certainly hope that more people would be interested because we really think this is a big issue,” Ms. Deevy said in a media roundtable on April 24.

She added: “The more people looking at it and working with us on it, the better we can get in terms of making sure that there is high quality content on Facebook….We want to have a wide variety of fact checkers.”

Facebook has partnered with Rappler Inc.’s Rappler IQ and Vera Files, both accredited by Poynter, to do third-party fact-checking of news links that lead to stories on websites outside Facebook. Ms. Deevy said the organizations are compensated by Facebook but she did not disclose any amount.

Ms. Deevy said they chose Poynter because of its transparency and openness. Presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. had said the government plans to meet Facebook over its choice of Rappler and Vera Files. Ms. Deevy said she has yet to meet government representatives.

Under the system, news stories flagged on Facebook will be reviewed by Rappler IQ and Vera Files.

Users will be able to flag potential false news stories and will be informed if a story they shared on Facebook is verified as false. Also, pages on the site that repeatedly share false news will be seen less across news feeds and will see reduced distribution and removal of monetizing and advertising rights.

The news link verified as false will only be marked and will not be taken down. Instead, the fact-checkers will provide news links that counter the false story’s claims.

The fact-checking, however, does not involve text posts, images, or videos.

The company is keeping its options open regarding fact-checking on images and videos in the Philippines. Fact-checking of images and videos has started abroad (according to news reports).

“We are looking at options, this is all part of the learning phase,” Ms. Deevy said.

Facebook has been criticized for its failure to tackle fake news, which have been propagated in recent years and attributed to even influencing elections.