Google and Facebook have announced partnership ahead of French presidential elections in April.
Both Facebook and Google will work with French media brands to fact check and flag hoaxes, conspiracy theories or propaganda; more commonly referred to as “fake news”, in a move that mirrors similar efforts already under way in the United States and Germany.
Social networks and web content providers have been the subject of intense scrutiny since the US presidential elections last November, where fake news stories that went viral online and filtered into mainstream news reporting as well, are reported to have had an undue influence on the final results.
Facebook has already implemented a similar system in the US, where it partnered with Snopes, ABC News and the AP, to verify news stories and allow users to report content that is made up.
The partnership in France will begin on February 27, will be known as ‘CrossCheck’, and will involve Le Monde, Agence France Presse, BFM-TV, L’Express, France Télévisions, and several others news agencies.
A statement on First Draft News reads: “CrossCheck brings together expertise from media and technology industries to ensure hoaxes, rumours and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported. With the French presidential election as its primary focus, journalists from organizations across France will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads or news sites.”
The public will also be encouraged to participate in the fact checking process by submitting questions and links to disputed sites and social content for CrossCheck to investigate.
Facebook will offer users the option to flag a piece of content they see on the site as questionable. If two of Facebook’s media partners confirm that the content is incorrect, it will carry a “disputed” label from then on. The social media site explains: “Each participating newsroom will contribute their own experience, resources and regional knowledge to speed and strengthen the verification process, and to ensure that accurate reports reach citizens across the country and beyond.”
“CrossCheck partners, including a number of international news organizations, will ultimately make use of these reports in their own articles, programs and social media output.”
Vive La France!