When Facebook wanted a fact-checker for its UK operations, it turned to an organization funded in part by billionaire activist George Soros.
Facebook announced Friday that it was hiring Full Fact to perform fact-checking duties, The Guardian reported.
“People don’t want to see false news on Facebook, and nor do we,” said Sarah Brown, a Facebook representative.
“We’re delighted to be working with an organization as reputable and respected as Full Fact to tackle this issue. By combining technology with the expertise of our fact-checking partners, we’re working continuously to reduce the spread of misinformation on our platform.”
In 2017, Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the Omidyar Network gave Full Fact $500,000 to build what it said were automated fact-checking tools, according to Full Fact’s website.
This came on top of funding from Google in 2016 that helped develop the tools.
Full Fact vowed it would allow open discussion on the social media giant, which has often been accused of censoring conservative voices.
“The first concern is to protect free speech and people’s ability to say what they want,” said Will Moy, director of Full Fact, according to Britain’s Press Gazette. He said the crux of the issue on social media is that “it is harder and harder to know what to trust.”
However, Facebook will still play a major role in deciding what to check.
In its reporting on how the new Facebook system will work, Wired said Facebook will give Full Fact the content Facebook thinks is false. Full Fact will then pick and choose from that list and fact check those posts.
Wired further reported that although Full Fact has been hired to focus upon British posts, its reach will extend beyond the United Kingdom.
” … if someone from the UK flags a post from a publisher in the UK as potentially false, or a potentially false post originates outside the UK but is seen by people in the UK, these could provide reasons to flag the content for review by Full Fact,” Wired wrote.
“Factchecking is slow, careful work — so realistically we’re not going to be able to fact-check everything that appears on Facebook,” said Katie Bamber, Full Fact’s head of communications
“That’s one of the reasons we will be prioritizing content that we think could potentially do most damage to health, people’s safety or to democratic processes.”
Unlike in the United States, where multiple organizations have contracted with Facebook to perform fact-checking, Full Fact is the only one hired in Britain.
The U.S. arrangement has come under fire. The now-defunct Weekly Standard had been the only conservative fact-checker, Newsbusters noted. Its closure has left a void that Facebook has not yet filled.
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