Facebook Updates the ‘Journalism Project’ to Fight Fake News
In January, Facebook launched its “Journalism Project” with the intention of curbing the alarming amount of false or inaccurate news stories being shared on the site and improving the social networking giant’s relationship with legitimate news publishers.
On Thursday, the company released an update on how the project has fared over the past six months. Since launching the project, Facebook said it has met with 2,600 publishers to find the best ways of working together, meetings that have resulted in new products and features, such as call-to-action buttons that encourage users to follow specific publishers on Facebook and sign up for e-mail newsletters from those news outlets. Facebook partners with more than 10,000 news publishers around the world for its Instant Articles feature and the company said it pays out more than $1 million each day in shared advertising revenue to those publishing partners.
Facebook also recently confirmed that later this year the company plans to test a news subscription service with a paywall—a feature that publishers have been requesting, Facebook said.
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With regard to curbing “fake news” on the social networking site, Facebook said it has tried hitting propagandists in the wallet by limiting spammers’ access to buying ads that would otherwise finance their operations. The company has also reduced the number of posts that “link to low-quality web page experiences,” while also testing new ways for users to report false or inaccurate news stories that pop up on the site.
Facebook also noted that it is trying to improve news literacy among its readers. The company is teaching users to better identify misleading or false news wherever they find it online by developing news literacy programs with journalism schools at Arizona State University and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
“We know people want to see accurate information and high quality news on Facebook,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, and Fidji Simo, the vice president of product, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
After initially dismissing the idea that Facebook plays a role in disseminating fake news, the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been working to remedy the problem. Facebook partnered with third-party fact-checkers such as Snopes and PolitiFact, introducing alerts that warn users of articles on the site that include “disputed content.” (As Fortune pointed earlier this year, the feature is not without wrinkles, as sometimes readers are more likely to click on a disputed story out of curiosity.)