Facebook's fact checking effort is failing say journalists working with the social media giant to contain fake news

Earlier this year, Facebook had announced that it would be using third-party fact-checking websites such as Snopes and Politifact to assess the factual accuracy of stories reported as fake by users. It said that it would tag 'disputed' stories and provide alternative links if the concerned story wasn't agreeing to various authenticity parameters.

Facebook. Reuters.

Facebook. Reuters.

But almost a year after the effort, the journalists working with Facebook, to ensure the spread of fake news is contained, are not convinced. According to a report in The Guardian, these journalists say that Facebook's fact-checking tools are a failure.

These journalists, many of whom work for independent news organisations, have also claimed that Facebook had refused to disclose data on its efforts to contain the spread of fake news. It has been almost a year since these operations started, and it has only recently emerged that Facebook allowed Russia-based organisations to buy specific ads during the US presidential elections to spread propaganda that reached around 126 mn Facebook users in the US.

Fact checkers working with Facebook claim that there is no transparency as to how many stories actually go out with the 'disputed' tag and what effect it has on the content and which sites are the most popular culprits.

Alexios Mantzarlis from the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter which verified Facebook's third-party fact checkers has said that the organisation is in the dark. According to Mantzarlis, the amount of information shared by Facebook is not sufficient.

According to Facebook though, once an article has been labelled as false, its future impressions drop by 80 percent. This does not really give enough information. Apart from this, Facebook has also launched new features such as providing other articles on similar topics under 'related articles'.

One of the fact checkers being interviewed, told Guardian that Facebook should be hiring an army of moderators and should be handling this issue internally. Others said that the paid relationship with Facebook was creating a conflict of interest and weakening their ability to do fact checking work on the sites and organisations spreading disinformation. Spreading misinformation on Facebook by promoting posts is easy claim a lot of fact checkers.

It clearly looks like Facebook has a lot to do in its efforts to tackle fake news.


Published Date: Nov 15, 2017 10:02 am | Updated Date: Nov 15, 2017 10:02 am