Facebook has launched third-party fact-checking program in Ireland through a new partnership with The Journal.ie. A certified partner through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, The Journal.ie will review news stories, check their facts and rate their accuracy, with stories rated as false having their distribution significantly reduced.

This launch of fact-checking in Ireland will allow The Journal.ie to rate the veracity of articles and will also include an alpha test component that allows checkers to start to evaluate certain photo and video content.

How Third-Party Fact-Checking Program Works:

  • When a fact-checker rates a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed.
  • This significantly reduces its distribution, stopping the hoax from spreading and reducing the number of people who see it.
  • Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed, helping to curb the spread of financially motivated false news.
  • People and Page Admins will be sent notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that has been determined to be false.
  • Learn more about Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program here.

“We are aware that the spread of false news is a concern for many people, particularly in the context of the forthcoming referendum. People want accurate information on Facebook and that is what we want, too,” said Niamh Sweeney, Head of Public Policy for Facebook Ireland. “The Journal.ie has been leading the way on fact-checking in Ireland and while Facebook cannot be the arbiter of the truth, this fact-checking partnership with TheJournal.ie will help reduce the spread of misinformation by showing a warning when people begin to share an article marked by a fact-checker. In our experience, once a story is rated as false we have been able to reduce its future views by 80%.”

“The FactCheck project at TheJournal.ie has been a key innovation in how we test information which is influencing the decision-making of citizens in Ireland,” said Susan Daly, Editor of TheJournal.ie. “Since its launch two years ago, FactCheck has probed claims and statements made across a diverse range of areas, from housing to health, employment to education, transport to pollution. We welcome this chance to apply our team’s expertise and knowledge to tackling the spread of disinformation on a wider platform.”

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a number of important features and changes to the way we manage ads and Pages on Facebook as well as Instagram in light of the forthcoming referendum on the 8th amendment. These initiatives are designed to increase transparency and accountability, as well as prevent election interference. You can read more about our effort to make ads and Pages more transparent here.

  • The view ads feature is live in Ireland as of Wednesday 25th April. Ireland has been included in a pilot programme for the first phase of the feature which will enable Irish users to see all ads an advertiser is running on Facebook at the same time, even if those ads are not in your News Feed. This update is designed to help ensure users have the information needed to assess all ads on Facebook including political and issue ads.
  • We have a team deploying our Election Integrity Artificial Intelligence for the referendum, similar to those that we established in advance of recent elections in France, Germany and Italy. Those teams will be directing our artificial intelligence capabilities to identify fake accounts, misinformation, or foreign interference related to the upcoming referendum
  • In April, we launched a false news educational notice to help people in Ireland spot false news. Irish users had the opportunity to click on a notice at the top of their News Feed which offers advice on how to spot false news, such as checking the URL of the site, investigating the source of the news and looking for further reports on the topic. We also placed educational adverts across Irish press with tips on how to spot false news.
  • Facebook Ireland is a proud member of Media Literacy Ireland and supportive of its aim of empowering the Irish people with the skills and knowledge to engage with and understand traditional and new media.

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