With the French presidential election coming up, Google and Facebook are teaming up with major news organizations to prevent fake news stories from spreading on social media and influence its outcome. At least 17 major news organizations are taking part in the project, including Le Monde, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Liberation, BuzzFeed and France Medias Monde.
Similar to own fact checking plans announced in December, Facebook will rely on users to flag fake news on its network so that the articles can then by fact-checked by its partner organizations. Any news report deemed to be fake or inaccurate by two of its partners would then be tagged with an icon to show that the content is contested — although the content itself will not be removed from the social network.
Facebook has 24 million users in France, more than a third of the country's population.
Meanwhile, Google’s initiative is called "CrossCheck" and aims to "help the public make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months," according to the announcements. Among the things that Google will be doing is training students from France's leading journalism schools in advanced search techniques that can be used to identify fake news. They will add context to each false claim and create a live feed of shareable report cards on the CrossCheck website, which will be overseen by the Agence-France Presse.
CrossCheck will also allow the general public to submit questions and links to disputed stories.
The first round of France's elections takes place on April 23rd and a second round should take place in May. While the fact checking initiatives are targeted at French election news, Google and Facebook aim to do the same during the upcoming German elections too.