Meta launches new fact-check monitoring program to reduce the impact of online misinformation

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has launched a new initiative to curb the spread of misinformation online with a new fact-checking mentoring program, developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute for Fact-Checking International, to help audit organizations its influence.

As explained by Meta:

“Reducing the spread of misinformation is a challenge that no organization can face. Strong partnerships with professionals and sharing information on best practices play an important role in effectively managing misinformation. So, as part of this global mentoring program, select up to 6 fact-checking industry experts to teach up to 30 organizations in Meta’s external fact-checking program.”

Target will allocate $450,000 in funding for the initiative, which will help improve fact-checking processes through shared education, with a specific focus on helping multiple organizations across multiple regions combat harmful trends.

Facebook, in particular, is the subject of an in-depth investigation into its role in facilitating the spread of disinformation, with the recent leak in its Facebook archive again impacting that its news feed algorithm, in particular, may be fueling disinformation content, through various incentives and engagement targeting mechanisms that can help uncover more contentious content.

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Meta has denied that its platform is responsible for the division’s growth as a result, with Nick Clegg, vice president of Global Affairs and Communications at Meta Platforms, explaining:

“The rise of political polarization in the United States is a few decades ahead of social media. If Facebook is the main driver of polarization, we expect it to grow where Facebook is popular. It isn’t with high use of social media, although it has increased in the United States.”

So you can see that Facebook’s systems can be inherently built around driving that engagement, as a business advantage. Therefore, any attempt to combat disinformation is important, as we all have different opinions, but reports that extract such considerations from lies and untruths only harm a wider democracy.

Therefore, this new initiative will play an important role and, as Meta continues to lead the use of Facebook and Instagram in more regions, it will also have to work harder to address localized misinformation to mitigate these effects.