Facebook starts fact-checking fake news in India

Facebook today announced a partnership with a Mumbai-based fact checking organization called Boom, to help the social network fight the spread of fake news in the Indian state of Karnataka ahead of the elections being held there next month. The social network announced the fact-checking pilot program with Boom in a company blog post, where it briefly explained how the fact-checking process on Facebook currently works.

This is not the first time Facebook has partnered with third-party fact checkers – it has similar deals with fact checking groups in the U.S., France, Italy, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and the Philippines. However, the launch in India is notable because Facebook, along with others, has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the influence of fake news in India, notes a report from BuzzFeed. India is also a large market for Facebook with over 240 million users.

Like other Facebook fact-checking partners, BOOM is certified through the International Fact-Checking Network, a non-partisan international fact checking network at Poynter. It will be able to review the English-language stories shared on Facebook, and rate their accuracy.

When stories are rated by fact checkers as false, they are shown lower in the News Feeds to limit their distribution. This helps hoax stories from spreading, Facebook says. In addition, those Facebook Pages and domains that repeatedly share fake new will also see their distribution lowered, limiting their ability to monetize and advertise. This is important because some publishers were taking advantage of the fact that clickbait sells – even if the story is completely false. And they were profiting from it.

The company claims these efforts have allowed Facebook to reduce the distribution of fake news by 80 percent.

In addition to limiting fake news’ visibility, Facebook combats fake news by showing the fact checker’s article in a Related Articles widget right below the fake story in the News Feed; and it alerts people and Page admins if they’re trying to share a story or have shared a story that’s been determined to be false.

The program in India is considered a pilot test, Facebook notes.

“We are beginning small and know it is important to learn from this test and listen to our community as we continue to update ways for people to understand what might be false news in their News Feed,” the company says.



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