Facebook set to roll out fact-checking unit in Australia

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 19 November 2018

Facebook is set to launch a fact-checking service in time for the 2019 federal election to tackle the spread of fake news.

According to a report by Fairfax, the social media giant is in early stages of developing a fact-checking unit in Australia similar to those rolled out across 20 countries including the US, UK and Germany.

Facebook head of global marketing Carolyn Everson said it learnt a big lesson following the 2016 US elections which saw it embroiled in the Russian hacking scandal and is working towards greater transparency.

The fact-checking unit was launched as part of Facebook's efforts to improve its image amid criticism it failed to stop the proliferation of fake news on its platform.

The service allows third parties to review Facebook content and rate them with eight tags including 'false', 'satire' and 'opinion'.

Once a post is labeled false it appears lower down in a person's news feed with articles from fact-checkers appearing alongside it.

According to Everson, Facebook can reduce distribution of 'fake news' by 80%.

Pages that regularly share fake news could be penalised or lose their ability to monetise content.

Facebook is currently under review by the ACCC for its impact on traditional publishers, advertising revenue and the spread of misinformation with a draft report expected to be released on 3 December to the government.

More recently, The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner began looking into Facebook following a security breach which impacted almost 50 million users.

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