Facebook and Twitter want to help stem the spreading of fake news

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As many as 30 publications and social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have joined the First Draft Coalition partner network in a bid to stamp out fake news.

The First Draft Coalition was formed in 2015 by Bellingcat, Dig Deeper Media, Emergent, Storyful, Reportedly, Meedan, Verification Junkie and Eyewitness Media hub with additional support from Google News Lab.

Together, these organisations are working to raise awareness about sharing false news stories. The First Draft Coalition, along with its partners is also working to establish standards surrounding the use of eyewitness media sourced from networks such as Twitter.

Managing director of First Draft Coalition, Jenni Sargent, announced the new platform on the First Draft blog.

“Today, news breaks online,” writes Sargent. “Today, the first images to emerge from a breaking news event have been captured by an eyewitness. Today, injustices that may never have been reported become global news stories because a bystander reached for their smartphone.”

Sargent goes onto explain that while real news is shared through social media, hoaxes and fake news can be spread just as easily.

The newly formed partner network will see First Draft as well as journalists, human rights investigators and academics collaborating in the development of ways to verify eyewitness news reported via social media. At the same time the coalition wants to help users separate the real news from the fake.

Twitter’s news partnerships manager, Niketa Patel said, “Twitter is thrilled to be a part of the First Draft Partner Network so that we can collaboratively shape best practices, ethical guidelines and tools when it comes to discovering and verifying eyewitness media.”

Ironically, Facebook was recently brought into the limelight for sharing a fake news story. The firm’s Trending algorithm recently shared two news stories that were false after it let go its team of human curators.

It will be interesting to see whether this partner network instills real change in both social networks and the habits of users.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everybody will immediately start reading full stories rather than just headlines before sharing them, but at least somebody is doing something to stem the tide of fake news story.

[Source – First Draft Coalition] [Image – CC BY ND 2.0 Kenichi]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.