How Facebook and Google Plan to Fight Fake News in France’s Election

  • Internet giants back fact-checking tools alongside local media
  • France draws on U.S. elections as it prepares its own

Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. want to stop fake news from spreading in France as the country prepares for the presidential election in spring, with new fact-checking tools showing the Internet giants have learned lessons from the run-up to the U.S. race last year.

Facebook said Monday it will extend the fact-checking tools it has already launched in the U.S. and Germany to France in the coming weeks, with local media in charge of spotting and flagging fishy content, according to a statement Monday. The initiative also includes making it easier for the platform’s users to signal potential fake news, with the goal of limiting financial gains for authors of such content. Anything flagged --a link to a story for example-- will appear on Facebook as “disputed by third party fact-checkers”.

Google separately will work with French media on a collaborative journalism project dubbed CrossCheck, due to start February 27, according to a joint statement. The initiative will have the French presidential election as its main focus, with journalists from local news organizations verifying anything from photographs to videos and even memes that are going around online.

Facebook is also part of CrossCheck in France. Local media like newswire Agence France-Presse, 24-hour news television channel BFMTV, and newspapers and magazines including Le Monde and L’Express are among partners.

Around the U.S. presidential election last year, Facebook faced an uproar over the use of its social network to spread fake news. Responding to growing critics, the company unveiled new features to select users in the U.S., added options for readers and third-party fact checkers to flag articles, tweak the platform’s algorithm and provide more restrictions on advertising.

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