Facebook Develops Fact-Checker Ahead Of 2019 Federal Election

Facebook Develops Fact-Checker Ahead Of 2019 Federal Election

Facebook is reportedly developing a fact-checking unit within the app ahead of the 2019 Australian federal election.

The unit will attempt to stamp out fake news about political candidates and their campaigns.

According to Fairfax, Facebook head of global marketing confirmed the move, adding the tech had already been introduced in most than 20 countries over the past two years.

Speaking to Fairfax, Everson said: “We can reduce distribution by 80 per cent if [content is] seen as fake… we are working on getting a fact-checking team in Australia”.

“If you go back to 2016 [United States presidential election], it was really the tipping point for Facebook … we determined there was interference we were not prepared for.

“It was a very big lesson learnt,” Everson added.

Everson also said third-party verification on Facebook will soon be introduced in Australia.

As per Fairfax, the fact-checking unit will work by pushing suspicious content further down a user’s newsfeed.

As well as this, if a user is about to enter a website previously deemd ‘fake’ by Facebook or fellow users, the user will be notified of its status.

As part of the crackdown, Everson also said the social media giant had been “getting fake accounts down”.

Roughly 1.5 billion accounts have been deleted since the 2016 US Election.

“It is a daily battle … Getting them down is super important,” Everson said.

Though added: “nothing is going to be perfect”.

In late October, Facebook hired a former deputy prime minister of Britain to lead its global affairs.

Nick Clegg, who served as deputy PM under David Cameron, is to join Facebook as vice president of global affairs and communications.

The appointment followed a spate of criticism thrown at Facebook surrounding the social media giant’s interference in politics.

Specifically, Facebook’s election meddling, a hangover from the 2016 US Presidential Election.

The week prior to Clegg’s hiring, Facebook announced it was taking a harder stance on election meddling, with a news release titled ‘Fighting Election Interference in Real Time’.

It said: “In September, ahead of the Brazilian and US elections, we opened our first physical elections war room in Menlo Park, California.

“Our goal: to get the right subject-matter experts from across the company in one place so they can address potential problems identified by our technology in real time and respond quickly.

“The war room has over two dozen experts from across the company – including from our threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams.”

B&T has approached Facebook for comment on the fact-checking unit.

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