Facebook's Journalism Project has announced a new fact-checking Accelerator Challenge, which will bring together fourteen of the platform's fact-checking providers for a 10-week training program aimed at improving collaboration and developing better fact-checking methodologies.
According to Facebook, the Fact-Checking Accelerator Challenge will bring together fact-checking firms to develop, learn from experts and one another, and cooperate on innovative tactics to better their company both on and off Facebook. In light of the COVID vaccination roll-out, and rising resistance to the push due to suspicions about the vaccine's development, misinformation and preventing the dissemination of incorrect content has become a significant priority for social networks.
According to estimates, millions of Americans are delaying or refusing to acquire the vaccination due to concerns about its hasty development and potential negative effects. That apprehension has been highlighted as a crucial factor in the virus's reappearance in many areas, with the more virulent Delta strain prompting fresh lockdowns and mitigating efforts.
Even though COVID vaccines have been globally licensed for use by independent health authorities around the world, misinformation on the internet continues to hinder optimal take-up, potentially prolonging the epidemic. This makes Facebook's new fact-checking education and coordination program all the more critical, especially as the company is also looking at new ways to police other types of false reports and prevent people from exploiting its platforms to spread misleading and dangerous ideas.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Facebook is forming a new council to advise them on worldwide election-related issues.
The proposed commission might rule on issues including the feasibility of political advertisements and what should be done about election-related misinformation. The panel is scheduled to be announced this fall in time for the 2022 midterm elections, though the project is still in its early stages and could fall apart. This is in line with Facebook's broader aim to seek expert advice on content moderation choices, which would protect the company from being accused of stifling debate while also allowing it to gain more knowledge to steer its process.
Another component is the new fact-checking Accelerator Challenge, which should help Facebook create clearer criteria surrounding content deletions and lock in tighter guidelines on what is and is not allowed. The Fact-Checking Accelerator initiative on Facebook will launch in early October 2021.