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Facebook Dismisses Report of Journalists’ Frustration With Fact-Checking

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook has dismissed a media report that claimed journalists working as factcheckers for the social media giant are frustrated and are ending partnerships as the company failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

A report in The Guardian on Thursday said outside reporters have lost trust in Facebook, “which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work”.

Reacting to the report, Meredith Carden, Head of News Integrity Partnerships at Facebook, said the Guardian story presents several inaccuracies.

“Contrary to a claim in the story, we absolutely do not ask fact-checkers to prioritise debunking content about our advertisers,” Carden said in statement.

The report, she added, is based primarily on the account of a single fact-checker who has not been involved with the Facebook fact-checking program for six months.

“We have been committed to fighting misinformation for years now and have strong relationships with our third-party fact-checking partners — we now have 35 partners in 24 countries around the world,” said Facebook.

The report quoted Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a factchecking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years, as saying that the social network is using journalists for handling crisis PR.

“They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care,” said Binkowski, who now runs her own fact-checking site which does not partner with Facebook.

According to Facebook, it values the ongoing partnerships and the work that these journalists do.

The third-party fact checking programme was launched in 2016 after the US Presidential election.

Facebook, data
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re planning to expand the programme to even more countries in 2019,” said Carden.

According to Facebook, three separate researches have found that the overall volume of false news on Facebook is decreasing since it put up third-party fact-checking programme and other anti-misinformation measures in place.

However, The Guardian report said the company has ignored journalists’ concerns.

Some newsroom leaders said “they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicising their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros”.

A New York Times investigation in November suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that “dug up dirt on its competitors” including Soros.

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Reacting to the report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg denied they had any prior knowledge about this firm.

“It was later revealed that Sheryl Sandberg had directed her staff to research Soros’s financial interests after he publicly criticised the company,” the Guardian report said.

The report quoted another factchecker as saying that he was demoralised.

“They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said the anonymous factchecker. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook to Launch its Cryptocurrency Next Year: Report

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency next year, the BBC reported on Friday.

Called “GlobalCoin,” the cryptocurrency would work with a new digital payments system in about a dozen countries starting in the first quarter of 2020.

Facebook has been in contact with US and British financial regulators to launch it.

According to the BBC, Facebook is in touch with “Bank of England governor Mark Carney and officials at the US Treasury”.

With over two billion users across its platforms, Facebook could emulate WeChat in China which allows its users to chat, shop and play games without leaving its platform.

The Facebook cryptocurrency would need to overcome numerous technical and regulatory hurdles before it can be launched.

According to media reports, the Facebook currency could be designed to be a “stablecoin” with a value pegged to US currency in an attempt to minimize volatility.

A report last week said Facebook has reportedly set up a company called Libra Networks in Switzerland that is developing payments and Blockchain systems for the social networking giant.

virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

According to a report in CNET quoting Swiss publication Handelszeitung, the Facebook cyrptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar and could, therefore, remain stable unlike Bitcoin which has crashed.

“Facebook set up Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago. Libra is the social network’s internal project name for the digital currency,” the report said.

The Swiss company would focus on developing the software and hardware for currency-related functions like payments, Blockchain, analytics, big data and identity management.

Facebook declined to comment on the new report.

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According to a report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the social media giant is “recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants” towards its cryptocurrency-based system that would use a digital coin similar to Bitcoin.

The New York Times reported in February that Facebook had a team of 50 people working on its virtual currency project.

In a public interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “potentially interested” in putting the Facebook login on the Blockchain technology.

According to Zuckerberg, Blockchain could give users more powers when granting data access to third-party apps. (IANS)