Facebook to employ machine learning to curb fake news

The term fake news has been thrown around a lot in the past couple of years and it won’t be wrong to say that Facebook is a platform where a hoax or false news once posted has a potential to spread like wildfire. In lieu of this Facebook constantly keeps updating its policy and approach to curb fake news.

Facebook keeps the false news at bay by taking help from fact-checkers, removing the content from untrustworthy sources and removing fake accounts. Since the amount of fake news keeps growing, Facebook has announced some changes and updates in its approach as reported in the blog post by Tessa Lyons, Product Manager at Facebook.

  • Expanding our fact-checking program to new countries
  • Expanding our test to fact-check photos and videos
  • Increasing the impact of fact-checking by using new techniques, including identifying duplicates and using Claim Review
  • Taking action against new kinds of repeat offenders
  • Improving measurement and transparency by partnering with academics

Facebook has a huge team of fact-checkers who verify a piece of content and rate the content, the action is taken by the Facebook team based on those rating. Considering the amount of content that is posted in a single day, it is becoming impossible for the fact-checkers to verify every story individually.

“Machine learning helps us identify duplicates of debunked stories”, Lyons said. This could really help the fact-checkers as they don’t have to sift through the millions of content for similar fake stories and they can focus on new stories and verify them.

“To help curb foreign interference in public discourse, we are beginning to use machine learning to help identify and demote foreign Pages that are likely to spread financially-motivated hoaxes to people in other countries.”, Lyons said. Facebook is expanding their fact-checking program to more countries and that will help them look and verify more content based on countries. There is a deluge of misinformation during the time of elections and harsh steps need to be taken to keep the fake news at bay.

All the changes that are going on and the automation, there is also a fear of flagging genuine content as misinformation and people as fake. There needs to be feedback mechanism where the errors can be rectified and the genuine content and people are not harmed. Facebook’s policy of giving the pages another chance once they stop spreading hoax is a step in the right direction.


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