Facebook is trying to fight fake news and misinformation on its platform by hiring Reuters to fact-check, but it’s still not verifying political ads.
The new fact-checking unit at Reuters, which launched on Wednesday, will look at the content posted on Facebook and Instagram and identify when it is fake or misleading. A Reuter’s spokesperson told Digital Trends that the types of posts would include photos, videos, and headlines. Ads are noticeably missing from that list of fact-checked content.
According to TechCrunch, Reuter’s fact-checking unit will be only four people who will be fact-checking both English and Spanish content. Reuters plans to publish their findings on a new Fact Check blog.
“We are steadfastly recognizing the magnitude of misinformation taking place around the world. It’s a growing issue that impacts society daily and it’s a responsibility for news organizations and platforms to halt the spread of false news,” said Jess April, director of global partnerships for Reuters, in a press release. “Reuters has a superior track record in sourcing, verifying, and clearing user-generated content for distribution to thousands of clients globally, and we are best placed in using our in-house expertise to fact-check social media content.”
Hiring an established news organization like Reuters could be Facebook’s attempt at redeeming itself after being accused of perpetuating fake news on its news feed in the past. However, not including ads in the fact-checking process has been met with much criticism, since these political ads can say whatever they want to voters and potentially spread false information.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said that Facebook does not fact-check political ads because he believes that people should see for themselves what politicians are saying.
Even though Zuckerberg said political ads are welcome on the platform, Facebook added strict new changes to its ad policies in August that will require new disclosures for political ads. Advertisers that run political or social issues ads will have to show government credentials such as a tax-registered organization identification number or a government website domain. Other advertisers without these credentials will have to prove their identity by providing a phone number, business email, or a mail-deliverable address.