Facebook has joined forces with several news organizations in an attempt to fight fake news in France ahead of the country's elections in April.
"Fake news" became a leading topic in 2016. The U.S. presidential election boosted concerns about the real impact of fake news and the uncontrollable dissemination of false information through social media. Both President Donald Trump and his opponents cite fake news as a leading factor in the deep social and political divisions in the U.S.
As the largest social network in the world, Facebook has been criticized for being a medium through which false information traveled. In an effort to combat the viral nature of fake news through its network, Facebook has teamed up with eight French news organizations to reduce the risk of fake news being shared on the platform, Reuters reports.
The partner news organizations will act as fact-checkers for viral stories that are flagged by users. When users flag a story, it will be sent to the news organizations, which will verify whether the story is false. When a story is found to be false, Facebook will tag that content across its website to let users know the information has been found untrue.
Similar efforts have been made in Germany and the U.S. In December 2016, Germany considered suing Facebook for spreading fake news. In January, Facebook joined forces with a Berlin-based nonprofit to begin filtering fake news in the country.
Facebook also rolled out filters for the U.S. in December 2016. According to The Verge, Facebook will actively attempt to discourage users from sharing false information with the help of partnered news organizations, which include PolitiFact, Snopes, Factcheck.org and ABC News.
Outside developers have also caught wind of the demand for fake news filters. CBS News reported that one particularly buggy fake news filter, called "B.S. Detector," had more than 26,000 downloads before being blocked by Facebook.
Before it partnered with Facebook, French news organization Le Monde also made its own attempt to fight fake news by compiling a huge master list of unreliable websites and news sources, The Verge reported.