Facebook Launches Third-Party Fact-Checking Program in Canada

Facebook Canada says it has launched a new third-party fact-checking program on its platform, aimed at stopping the spread of fake news.

According to a new report from Newswire, the program, which is part of Facebook’s Elections Integrity Initiative, is being started in collaboration with Agence France-Presse (AFP), a France-based news outlet. Facebook Canada said the news organization’s fact checkers “will review Canadian news stories on Facebook in English and French and rate their accuracy.”

Kevin Chan, Facebook’s head of public policy in Canada, said the program has three central pillars: flagging disconcerting material and rating its accuracy, pushing that content lower down in the Facebook Newsfeed, and disabling accounts that are consistently producing inaccurate information.

The program will also let users know when they’ve shared information that’s false and provide them with more context of the story, all to build what CEO Mark Zuckerberg patriotically refers to as a “more informed community.”

According to the report, here’s how Facebook‘s fact-checking system works:

  • Fact-checking stories. News stories flagged on Facebook will be reviewed by AFP, which has been certified through a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network. These fact-checkers will review the story, check the facts, and rate the accuracy of the story.
  • Placing false stories lower in News Feed. Stories that have been rated false by a fact-checker will be placed lower in your News Feed, significantly reducing the chances of you seeing it.
  • Taking action against Pages and websites that repeatedly share false news. Pages that repeatedly share false news will see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.

“We are committed to fighting the spread of false news and misinformation on multiple fronts, employing a variety of tools and tactics. Working with AFP on the third-party fact-checking program is a continuation of our Canadian Elections Integrity Initiative, and one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform,” said Chan.

“In addition to the fact-checking program, our tactics include disrupting financial incentives, taking action against fake accounts, applying machine learning to help diminish spam, reducing the posts people see that link to low-quality web pages, and providing people with easier access to additional perspectives and information,” Chan continued.

AFP is an international news organization based in Paris, France. It is the third-largest news agency in the world after the Associated Press and Reuters. It is also a signatory on the non-profit Poynter Institute’s non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network’s fact-checks’ code of principles.

“We are delighted with this new contract which is a testament to AFP‘s expertise and credibility in the verification of information,” said Michèle Léridon, Global News Director at AFP. “At a time when false news and misinformation is proliferating widely, this project with Facebook touches directly on the agency’s founding mission and the work being done by our network of journalists every day to provide a reliable and high quality verified news service.”

This initiative, launched in the wake of the 2016 presidential election in the United States amid widespread concern about the spread of fake news and misinformation on Facebook, has been rolled out already in 14 other countries, including the United States, France, and Germany.