Facebook has been a big part of the whole “fake news” phenomena that has been taking center stage since the US Presidential Election ended in November, and the company has been working on ways to filter out the so-called “fake news”, and only providing news that is real (and often times, sourced from somewhere). This isn’t a problem that is affecting just Facebook, but with them being the largest social network in the world right now, it is affecting them the most. Today, Facebook unveiled “The Facebook Journalism Project”. Currently it’s a suite of tools that Facebook is making available for journalists to use, and help them connect with their readers.
Some of the features that Facebook is bringing to their platform include digest packages of Instant Articles. With these digest packages, users are able to subscribe to these news organizations, as well as sign up for free trials of paid subscriptions. There are also hackathons with publishers’ development teams, Public Service Announcements to promote news literacy and combat misunderstanding of fake news and so much more. Facebook is also giving out access to CrowdTangle. For those unaware of what CrowdTangle actually is, it’s a journalism tool startup that Facebook acquired and it helps reporters sift through trends, measure their social posts and even identify sources. All of which are important tools, especially for those aspiring journalists that aren’t quite a seasoned journalist just yet. It’s almost like a stripped-down version of Insights that Facebook offers to Pages currently.
Facebook is also investing in local news, which is just as important. Facebook notes that “local news is the starting place for great journalism” citing that it brings communities together. The company is interesting to see what they can build together with their partners in local media outlets, and will be working to help promote independent media. Facebook does note that this actual initiative is in its earliest stages. Noting that they wanted to “talk about it now so that we can get as much input from newsrooms and journalists as possible.”
It appears that Facebook has a slew ideas floating around right now, about how to fight fake news and hoaxes. It’s going to be a pretty popular topic in 2017, not just at Facebook but also at other social media companies. And if Facebook can help fight off fake news, then it’ll leave a blueprint for other companies to follow, moving forward.