Facebook Taps Reuters for Paid Fact-Checking Program to Label Deepfakes, Misinformation

Amid the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, Reuters announced a deal with Facebook under which the giant social-networking corporation will pay the global news service to fact-check information, images and video on Facebook and Instagram.

Reuters has formed a four-person fact-checking team that will work to verify content posted on Facebook and Instagram — and flag where media is false or misleading. The news service said it will assess the authenticity of user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content on the Facebook platforms for U.S. audiences in both English and Spanish.

Reuters also is publishing findings on a newly created blog. Among its latest entries, the Reuters fact-checkers reported that videos circulated last month after the death of Kobe Bryant purporting to show footage of the actual helicopter crash were false.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a Reuters rep said Facebook is paying the news service under the fact-checking program.

Other partners for Facebook’s Third-Party Fact Checking Program currently include the Associated Press, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, AFP United States. About a year ago, Snopes.com withdrew from the initiative, citing “the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services.”

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“Expanding our fact-checking program is an important part of our work to fight misinformation,” Keren Goldshlager, head of Facebook integrity partnerships, said in a statement. “We are thrilled that Reuters is joining our U.S. partnership, and know we’ll benefit deeply from their expertise in visual verification and user-generated content.”

In December 2019, Reuters partnered with Facebook’s Journalism Project to develop an online-learning course for journalists designed to help them identify manipulated video, pictures and audio. It’s available in four languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

It’s a responsibility for news organizations and platforms “to halt the spread of false news,” said Jess April, Reuters’ director of global partnerships. The company has already worked to vet user-generated content for distribution to “thousands of clients globally,” April added.

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