Facebook Expands Fact-Checking to Include Politically ‘Diverse’ Viewpoints

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Facebook is taking another shot at improving its fact-check process, by adding a large group of part-time contractors to help sort information from disinformation.

In an attempt to assuage the concerns of conservatives and free speech advocates wary of Big Tech bias, Facebook will be partnering with YouGov to select a politically diverse community of reviewers.

Product Manager Henry Silverman wrote in a Dec. 17 blog post “Helping Fact-Checkers Identify False Claims Faster” explaining that the program will “allow fact-checkers to quickly see whether a representative group of Facebook users found a claim to be corroborated or contradicted.” To give context, Silverman described how “community reviewers” will “work as researchers to find information that can contradict the most obvious online hoaxes or corroborate other claims.”

These community reviewers specifically will not be Facebook employees, but part-time contractors hired through Facebook’s partners.

These communities of contractors “are not making final decisions themselves” according to Silverman, but instead will share their findings with “the third-party fact-checkers as additional context as they do their own official review.”

 

Facebook described an example scenario where somebody falsely reports a celebrity has died when there is clear evidence that this is not the case. These users can flag that the claim is not corroborated or entirely contradicted by other sources. Fact-checkers will see that information, and they can then rate the post as they see fit.

The blog described the methodology of this program as a three-pronged approach:

  • “Our machine learning model identifies potential misinformation using a variety of signals. These include comments on the post that express disbelief, and whether a post is being shared by a Page that has spread misinformation in the past.
     

  • “If there is an indication that a post may be misinformation, it will be sent to a diverse group of community reviewers
     

  • “These community reviewers will be asked to identify the main claim in the post. They will then conduct research to find other sources that either support or refute that claim, similar to the way a person using Facebook may search for other news articles to assess it if they believe the main claim in a post. Fact-checking partners will then be able to see the collective assessment of community reviewers as a signal in selecting which stories to review and rate.”

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