Social media giant Facebook has joined hands with global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) to monitor and check facts in India by a third party organization, ahead of general elections in 2019.
The move will 'bolster' Faebook's its ongoing efforts to "clamp down on manipulated posts including photos and videos" on its social media platform, said Manish Khanduri, head of Facebook News Partnership in India. Since AFP has been certified through the Poynter Institute's non-partisan International Fact Checking Network, it will be engaged in third party fact-checking process in India, he noted.
"One of our key objectives is to engage and combat misinformation and broadly that has been a part of our efforts for a while now," he said and added that Facebook will reduce, remove fake news and inform its audiences actively going forward. Khanduri said, "AFP is becoming a part of third-party fact-checkers and will essentially bolster efforts to crackdown on misinformation."
"We will continue to seek partners, we will continue to expand the programme," he said. Facebook will expand its network of support in more Indian languages soon, he said. Currently, its partnership with BOOM covers content in English and Bengali. Both Facebook and WhatsApp are owned by the social media giant, besides the Instagram, that is making inroads in visual media.
It may be recalled that WhatsApp came under severe criticism by the government over circulation of certain fake and sinister messages that incited mob fury and public lynchings in several parts of the country stretching from Karnataka in the south to Assam in the northeast.
Khanduri said the new measures will stop fake news from spreading or bring them down from ranking high on social media. Once rated false by the fact-checker, it will figure lower in News Feed, reducing its distribution significantly, he explained.
Facebook has taken up similar initiatives in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and the US. Its India initiative has been kicked off recently in the form of several measures including tie ups, sensitizing journalists and trainees in journalism training institutes like IIJNM among others.