Fake News Prompts Media Industry Project
Facebook has joined a host of tech companies and non-profit groups to launch a $14 million project to fight fake news. The News Integrity Initiative's aim is to help people "make informed judgments about the news they read and share online."
The project will be run by the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY). As well as Facebook, it's backed by Firefox developer Mozilla, online ad company AppNexus and journalism investment group, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others.
The main activity will be holding events at a range of media organizations around the world, as well as funding specific projects and research. (Source: cuny.edu)
Independent Media Gets Boost
It will run at the same time as a Facebook-specific project to build stronger ties with journalists and media groups to help promote legitimate journalism on the site. This will include making it easier for news outlets to show multiple stories to Facebook users; giving bigger exposure to local and independent media; and finding new ways for media groups to boost revenue such as articles posted on Facebook including a link to sign up to a free trial of newspaper pay sites.
Facebook is also working with journalists to develop guidelines on the best way to find and verify eyewitness reports, photos and videos of breaking news events that have been posted on the site. (Source: fb.com)
Readers Attitudes Must Change
A big part of both Facebook's own projects and the new News Integrity Initiative is to tackle the problem from both sides, dealing with readers as well as reports. That will entail educational programs to help people learn more about how to assess news sources and decide how trustworthy they are.
Worthy as the projects are, there is something of a contradiction given the way Facebook displays links to news stories and lets users share them with friends. An article that is written specifically to appeal to people's preconceptions or outrage them - even an article that is completely falsified - may well get more shares on Facebook and in turn lead to more people visiting the author's website and thus boosting their ad revenue.
What's Your Opinion?
What measures would you like the News Integrity Initiative to take? Is Facebook part of the problem as well as offering possible solutions? Do readers need to take more responsibility to verify news stories before sharing them online?
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