Facebook needs to do more on fake

Facebook’s third party fact-checking initiative is helping counter misinformation online but more development is needed, reports Full Fact. The independent  outfit is calling on the social network to share more data with fact checkers, develop its tools to identify potentially harmful false content, and for the programme to be expanded to other platforms.

“We also call on the government to review responsibilities for providing authoritative public information on topics where harm may result from inaccurate information, in particular in areas such as public health and the law,” says the Full Fact report.

The organisation notes that while Facebook is extending the programme to more languages and countries, there’s also a need to scale up the volume of content and speed of response. It also wants the company to share more data with fact checkers to enable them to better evaluate the content.

Full Fact also harbours concerns about plans to use artificial intelligence.

Facebook says its is planning to lean more heavily on AI to flag up content. Full Fact points out that these systems do not yet exist, and that creating them involves “solving some very hard problems, including ethical as well as technological problems. And attempts to do so need to be carefully scrutinised.”

The outfit adds that machine learning depends on the data it learns from “and we doubt that the existing ratings system is likely to produce a high quality outcome from machine learning. … We would welcome a clearer statement from Facebook of the potential avenues they see for developing machine learning tools based on the third party fact checking data.”

Last week, Mozilla published a report stating that Facebook needs to boost transparency to help researchers and journalists uncover who is buying ads, the way these ads are being targeted, and to whom they’re being served.


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