Ahead Of General Elections, Facebook Expanding Fact-Checking Mechanism In India

In its attempt to further crack down on “fake news” just ahead of the crucial national level elections in India, social media giant Fecebook has said that it is further extending its fact-checking programme in India through third parties by involving very well known media names such as the India Today Group, Factly and Fact Crescendo to its list of fact checkers.

Tools and measure that would allow reviewing of photos and videos to “help identify and take action against more types of misinformation” is being given to the checkers in the largest social media platform, in addition to the usual method of reviewing articles.

“Starting today, India Today Group, Vishvas.news, Factly, Newsmobile, and Fact Crescendo, all of whom are certified through a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, will review news stories on Facebook for facts, and rate their accuracy…” Facebook said in a statement.

The company added that this expansion of fact checking would be done for content in a number of regional language including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi apart from English.

“We are committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook, especially ahead of the 2019 General Election campaign season. And one way to do that is by growing our partnership with third-party fact-checkers. We now have seven partners across the country covering six languages, who will review and rate the accuracy of stories on Facebook,” Facebook India News Partnership Head Manish Khanduri said.

He said that these measures being undertaken by the company are part of the broader and long term pledge of the company “because the tactics used by bad actors are always changing”.

“So we are trying to take action in the short-term, but also invest in partnerships, tools and technology we’ll need to stay ahead of new types of false news as well,” he added.

Warnings of strong action against the social media platforms have been issued by the Indian government ahead of the national level general elections about their liability in case there was any attempt made to influence the electoral process through undesirable means in India.

Amend IT rules under which would increase the accountability of social media, online platforms and messaging apps and which would make it mandatory for companies operating such platforms to make use of tools and measures that would enable them to identify and curb unlawful content and implement stricter levels of due diligence is being proposed by the government.

Pledges of implementation of more transparency into political advertisements on their online platforms have been made by social media players like Facebook, Twitter and Google in the last few months. They have also announced a number of measures wiht the aim of increasing election integrity.

Hate mongers have used Facebook and WhatsApp, which is also owned by the social media giant, to spread messages in recent times which had resulted in mob violence and lynching in India. Both the platforms have already initiated measures such as sensitisation programmes among throughout India.

(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)

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