Facebook is intensifying its efforts to combat fake news disseminated by malicious individuals on its platforms, the company said earlier this week, having detailed a wide variety of new endeavors and initiative changes meant to make its war on misinformation more effective. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant already brought its fact-checking program to fourteen countries across the globe since introducing it in early 2018, having now confirmed plans to expand its availability even further in the second half of the year. According to the firm's internal estimates, independent fact-checking organizations help it eliminate some 80-percent of fake news on average, though recent reports suggest the main issue with that initiative isn't its success rate but the fact that the system takes over 24 hours to identify and remove misinformation which already made the rounds at that point, as do all news stories, legitimate or not.
Besides news articles, the company's fact-checking efforts will now also encompass photos and videos shared on its platform in order to determine whether any reported materials are entirely staged or edited in a misleading manner. This particular initiative is still experimental in nature and will only be running in four countries for the time being, according to Facebook Product Manager Tessa Lyons. While the social media company has already been demonetizing websites it determines repeatedly share fake news for several months now, it will be taking additional steps to penalize frequent offenders, most notably by deprioritizing their content on user feeds.
Additional machine learning technologies are now also being implemented into Facebook's anti-misinformation system, both to flag potentially suspicious content and help its independent fact-checking partners swiftly identify duplicate stories that have already been verified or debunked, allowing them to use their time more efficiently and effectively. Facebook also funded a number of academics who will be delivering in-depth reports on social media platforms and their roles in the modern society, particularly in regards to democracies and elections. The committee that's still in the making is meant to be independent and improve the transparency of Facebook's business model and other aspects of its operations.