Facebook created their Fact Checking project at the end of 2016. It was right after the US presidential election controversy and Russia’s social media interference. It was then the term fake news started to be used. Facebook wanted to regain credibility of their platform. So Facebook partnered up with third parties for fact checking. Their partners include, Snopes, ABC News, The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact. Using data from their partners, Facebook would try to inform users about questionable or fake news stories shared by others.
The process is Facebook creates a list of potential fake news stories. The list created by Facebook will be available only its fact checking partners. The partners would then independently choose which stories they want to fact check. Then they will investigate the news story and its content. If it is fake news, they can mark it and link to their own article exposing it. Facebook later uses these markings to change its algorithm to encourage real news stories for its users.
Facebook will use a variety of signals to identify fake news stories. Such as, news stories that people post but later delete, and news stories that include lots of comments saying it’s fake. Of course there are other signals as well. Facebook is introducing tools designed to make it easier to report links and news stories as fake news. Users who shared a determined fake news story will be warned. So far it is unknown if there will be punishments.
Snopes is Out
Recently, Snopes decided to end its partnership with Facebook. Reasons being they are “evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services, and we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff.”
Essentially the partnership is too much for their small staff to handle. As well as, they want to create fact checking tools that could benefit the whole web and not just one platform. Vinny Green, Snopes’ VP of operations said: “It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook. At some point, we need to put our foot down and say, ‘No. You need to build an API,’ The work that fact-checkers are doing doesn’t need to be just for Facebook — we can build things for fact-checkers that benefit the whole web, and that can also help Facebook.”