Today we published our first report on our experience of working on Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checking programme.
In our first six months, we’ve prioritised content with the most potential for specific harm, such as potential risks to life, or to people’s health and wellbeing. We’ve check claims on the side effects of vaccines and whether chemicals in bath product can induce labour, to emergency scenarios like whether cough CPR works, whether a tampon can help someone who’s been stabbed and whether you can press 55 in a 999 call if you can't speak.
We joined the programme in January in a bid to help tackle misinformation online. When we signed up to the project we committed to regular reporting to ensure our transparency, openness and impartiality was protected. This report is the first in a series of reports that will provide insight into the nature of misinformation on social media and to assess how effectively the project is tackling it.
A worthwhile programme, but further development needed
The report finds that Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checking programme is worthwhile in helping to counter misinformation online, and includes work of clear social value. We are encouraged by some signs that Facebook is continuing to improve the initiative, but further development is needed.
The report sets out 10 recommendations for Facebook on actions to be taken to improve the programme. We call for Facebook to share more data with fact checkers to better evaluate impact; to develop its tools to better identify potentially harmful false content; and for the programme to be expanded to other platforms.
We also call on the government to review responsibilities for providing authoritative public information on topics where harm may result from inaccurate information, in particular in areas such as public health and the law.
Independent, impartial, open
As with everything we do, our high standards of scrutiny, transparency, impartiality and editorial judgment remain our priority. In addition to our commitment to reporting publicly on this work, we’ve taken a number of measures to protect these standards:
- Facebook has no control over what we choose to check, what our fact checkers write and what rating they give.
- Once we have carried out a fact check, it is automatically uploaded to the platform. No Facebook staff member sees it before it goes live.
- We publish all fact checks under this project in full on our own website and will evaluate the project continually.
- The project has been designed to protect free expression. It gives people more information about the accuracy of an article, image or video – but doesn’t stop anyone sharing anything they want to.
- We are not given access to Facebook users’ private data for any reason.
You can read the full report here.
To learn more about our work checking content on Facebook you can read our FAQs.
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