February 22, 2020

Report: “Critics Fear Facebook Fact-Checkers Losing Misinformation Fight”

From The Hill:

Facebook’s program to hire third-party fact-checkers to crack down on misinformation on the platform has been ramping up, with partners adding staff and expanding their work.

But the program still faces skepticism from activists and tech industry critics who say the company and its partners are still not providing the resources needed to address the scope of the problem on a platform with more than 2 billion users.

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Together, Facebook’s six partners have 26 full-time staff and fact-checked roughly 200 pieces of content per month.

Experts who spoke to The Hill said those changes were insufficient to make a serious dent in the fake accounts and disinformation they say are rampant on Facebook.

“The volume seems inadequate given the scale of the challenge that Facebook faces,” Paul Barrett, an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Law, said.

“If you’re going to operate a site like Facebook, you would want to have resources available commensurate with the degree of false and misleading content. On a site with 2.4 billion monthly actively users you’re almost inevitably going to have a very high volume of false material.”

An official for Facebook told The Hill the platform is still adding partners and improving its flagging system. They acknowledged there is no “silver bullet” for misinformation, but stressed the program shows significant potential in the company’s view.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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