Facebook enlists AFP as third party fact-checker to combat fake news in Malaysia


  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 26 Jun 2019

Alice explained that Facebook will provide more context to a particular article through a collaboration with AFP as its third party fact checker. — ANGELIN YEOH/The Star

Facebook has announced a third party fact-checking programme partnership with global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) as part of an effort to combat misinformation on its social media platform in Malaysia.

AFP will be tasked with reviewing and rating the accuracy of stories in both English and Bahasa Malaysia on Facebook which include media like photos and videos starting today. 

Strategic partner manager of news partnership at Facebook, Alice Budisatrijo, said the new partnership will help to “take care of the distribution of fake news on Facebook”.

When a story or content is rated as false by the third party fact checker, Facebook will act by reducing the distribution of the story on its platform. The company believes it can prevent the spread of apparent fake news by lessening the chances of users catching up on the story through Facebook.

Budisatrijo said the company does not simply remove fake news because it is not an “arbiter of truth” and wants to maintain its social media network as an “open platform”.

Any story with potentially false information can still be accessed and shared by users, but Facebook says it will add extra information or more context to the article by letting users access “additional reporting from AFP in Malaysia” that comes with links to other related stories.

“This feature essentially encourages people to stop and think, ‘Do they really want to share this news?’. And there’s a link to the fact-checker site to see other additional information on a particular issue or story,” she added.

Budisatrijo said she hopes the tools provided by Facebook will discourage users from sharing potential fake news. However users will still have the option to post or share the story anyway as she explained that Facebook “wants to give people the ability to decide for themselves”.

Facebook will also take action against pages that have been identified as repeat offenders of putting up false information by lowering the distribution of their content on the platform.

“If a publisher is a repeat violator of fake news, they will also not be able to boost their content or make money on Facebook. So we take their ability to make money from ad breaks and all the other stuff. By removing their ability to make money, we also remove their ability to get a higher distribution on Facebook,” Budisatrijo said.

The Facebook monetisation ban on fake news publishers will last for three months. When a publisher gets a false news rating, they will be notified and given the opportunity to file an appeal within a week.
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