Facebook adds first health-focused fact-checking partner in India


Social media giant Facebook has added its first health-focused fact-checking partner in India. The company said it has partnered with The Healthy Indian Project (THIP Media), a company that focuses on providing verified health-related information in five Indian languages. Facebook said the partnership is part of its efforts to police covid-19 related misinformation spreading online.

According to Facebook, the company has removed 18 million pieces of harmful information from its two platforms (Facebook and Instagram) during the pandemic. Its fact checking partners have labelled 167 million fake news posts on covid-19 so far. The company had changed its rules recently, in order to accommodate covid-19 misinformation.

“Whether it’s false or misleading content about COVID-19 and vaccines, climate change, elections or other topics, we’re making sure fewer people see misinformation on our apps,” it said in a blog post at the time.

The company has 80 fact-checking partners worldwide, who help monitor content in 60 languages. In India, Facebook also partners with Factly, Newsmobile, BOOM Live, NewsChecker and more. The company says it can fact check content in 11 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Assamese and Kannada. Some of its fact checking partners had also formed a consortium called Ekta earlier, which was focused on fighting misinformation during the elections.

Third-party fact checkers are provided a special dashboard to Facebook, which they use to check content for factual accuracy. However, fact-checkers marking something as fake doesn’t necessarily mean they will be removed from the platform. Instead, Facebook’s algorithms lower their visibility in users’ News Feeds. Pages and accounts that are found to share false news repeatedly can also see their overall visibility reduced, and the company may also take away their right to monetize content on the platform.

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