By Jonathan Vanian
September 13, 2018

Facebook is expanding its fact-checking initiative, intended to screen the accuracy of photos and videos, to all of its third-party information-checking organizations.

The social networking company said Thursday that all of its 27 partners in 17 countries would now be able to access and contribute to its video and photo-screening technology.

Facebook first detailed its photo and video fact-checking project in March and said at the time that the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news service would participate. With the expansion, organizations like Pagella Politica in Italy, Animal Politico in Mexico, and the Associated Press and conservative publication The Weekly Standard will be able to screen news-related photos and videos on the Facebook service.

The company said it built a machine-learning model that helps it determine whether a particular video or photo has been doctored or deemed “potentially false content.” Facebook’s outside partners can then verify the images or videos for further scrutiny.

“Many of our third-party fact-checking partners have expertise evaluating photos and videos and are trained in visual verification techniques, such as reverse image searching and analyzing image metadata, like when and where the photo or video was taken,” Facebook product manager Antonia Woodford wrote in a statement. “Fact-checkers are able to assess the truth or falsity of a photo or video by combining these skills with other journalistic practices, like using research from experts, academics or government agencies.”

Woodford wrote that Facebook hopes to improve the accuracy of its machine-learning models through the help of its outside partners.

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The expansion marks another effort by Facebook to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform in prelude to upcoming elections. The company has been heavily criticized for failing to stop propaganda and hoaxes from spreading prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

 

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