Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Google, Facebook Team Up with French Media over ‘Fake News’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Social media companies Facebook and Google are teaming up with a group of French journalists to fight propaganda and misinformation online, mirroring similar efforts already underway in the United States and Germany.

Facebook said it would collaborate with leading French news organizations, including Agence France-Presse, BFM TV, and newspapers L’Express and Le Monde to guarantee that false news items were not published on its platform.

French daily Le Monde said that, by collaborating with social networking site Facebook, it aims to fact-check questionable content ahead of France’s approaching presidential election.

At the same time, nonprofit First Draft News announced the launch of CrossCheck , a verification project designed to help French voters “make sense of what and who to trust online.” Google’s News Lab is also involved.

Google and Facebook have both been under increasing scrutiny over the spread of hoaxes, conspiracy theories and propaganda — sometimes referred to by the catchall term “fake news.”

During last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, Facebook was blamed that it did not do enough to prevent false information being republished on its platform. Thus, it has set up measures to try to tackle the problem.

There have been similar concerns that people could disseminate false information on Facebook in the build-up to the French election, which takes place in April and May.

In the United States, Facebook has said users would in future find it easier to flag fake articles as a hoax.

Last month, Facebook also set up an initiative against fake news in Germany, where government officials had expressed concerns that false stories and hate speech online could influence a parliamentary election in September in which chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term in office.