Facebook today announced the launch of a third-party fact-checking programme to help assess the accuracy of news in South Africa. Photo: Pixaby
Facebook today announced the launch of a third-party fact-checking programme to help assess the accuracy of news in South Africa. Photo: Pixaby
Facebook today announced the launch of a third-party fact-checking programme to help assess the accuracy of news in South Africa. Photo: Supplied
Facebook today announced the launch of a third-party fact-checking programme to help assess the accuracy of news in South Africa. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN – Facebook today announced the launch of a third-party fact-checking programme to help assess the accuracy of news in South Africa.

The programme will also decrease the spread of misinformation as well as improving the quality of news people find on its platform. 

Facebook is working with two partners, Africa Check and AFP for the fact-checking programme. Africa Check is Africa's first independent fact-checking organisation while AFP is a well-respected news organisation, 

Both Africa Check and AFP are part of a global network of fact-checking organizations and they are certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.

The social network's fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. 

Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If a fact-checking partners identifies a story that is false, Facebook will show the article it lower in News Feed, which will reduce its distribution. 

Emilar Gandhi, Facebook Public Policy Manager, Sadc said, "We're committed to South Africa, and take our responsibility seriously in tackling the spread of false news, and helping to improve the quality of information people find on our platform."

According to Gandhi, once a fact-checker rates a piece of content as false, Facebook will be able to cut down its future views by an average of 80 percent. This will assist in curbing the economic incentives and reduce its spread. 

When third-party fact-checkers write articles about a news story, Facebook will show these in related articles immediately below the story in news feed. 

Facebook page admins and people will also receive notifications if they attempt to share a story or have shared one in the past that's been deemed to be false, giving people the powe to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.  

"We are pleased to partner with Africa Check and AFP to expand our fact-checking efforts into South Africa, joining the recently launched Kenya programme, with the aim of fighting the spread of misinformation via news articles, photos and videos" said Facebook's Strategic Partner Manager, Digital Partnerships, Jocelyne Muhutu Remy.

Commenting on the partnership Anim van Wyk, Chief Editor of Africa Check added, "Up until now, Africa Check has had to play catch-up with misinformation that harms that is shared on social media".

The chief editor added that collaborating with Facebook allows us to limit its spread very early on a key platform. 

AFP Global News Director Michèle Léridon said, "We are delighted with this new contract with Facebook in South Africa and Kenya alongside Africa Check, which is renowned for its fact-checking work in Africa". 

The programme was officially launched in South Africa today and in Kenya from yesterday. 

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