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Save Yourselves: Facebook Launches Initiative to Combat Fake News Ahead of French Election

Facebook all Over the World

As France heads into its own presidential election, Facebook and Google redouble their efforts to combat fake news.

According to the Reuters report on the move, Facebook—alongside other internet giant Google—will be working with eight French media companies to fact check and verify news posts that have been reported by users. Basically, if someone feels that a story may be fake, they can report it to Facebook, whereupon they’ll have their partner news agencies verify the content. The report mentions a few of those companies by name, including, “news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), news channel BFM TV, and newspapers L’Express and Le Monde.”

This new feature is only being released in France for the time being, and in time, too. France will be heading into its own presidential election season very shortly, and given how much “fake news” dominated both the American and German elections, it’s become even more important to fight the spread of misinformation. Similar tools were put in place in both the U.S. and Germany following their respective elections.

Google’s role in the “war on fake news” involves a new initiative called “CrossCheck,” which is a website dedicated to fielding submissions from readers who want to verify whether the content in any given story is accurate. It works much in the same way: users submit stories, and they’re verified by a set of media partners who fact check it.

With the growing consciousness towards critical thinking (seriously an underutilized skill), it’s possible that the French deployment of these tools may prove to be effective. That being said, it really is up to users to report news articles. It’s up to them to begin the process, as Facebook and Google don’t seem to currently have an effective way of stopping fake news without user input and feedback.

These tool may very well be “too little too late” for the U.S. and Germany, but here’s hoping it can help France avoid the same pitfalls that befell us.

(via The Verge, image via Flickr/C_osett)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.