Stopping the spread of fake news on popular online platforms

Following the launch of our fake news and misinformation advice hub in partnership with Google, below we’ve provided an overview of how the most popular online platforms are working to stop the spread of fake news online.

How Twitter is helping people find reliable information

To limit the spread of misleading information around COVID-19, earlier in the year Twitter issued guidance on how it was going to tackle the problem and since has removed a large number of tweets and challenged accounts.

Spotlight on credible information

In addition to this, it has tried to put a spotlight on credible information to make it easier to find on the platform. An example of this is the COVID-19 tab in the Explore section which makes it easier to find the latest information on COVID-19. The tab includes curated pages highlighting the latest news such as public service announcements, tweets from public health experts and journalists, as well as stories about how people are coping and helping each other.

Also, the Events feature has also been tailored to contain credible information about COVID-19 and is available at the top of the Home timeline for everyone in 30+ countries.

Campaigns and on-platform prompts

Twitter has also launched a number of campaigns such as #ThinkBeforeSharing prompt which notifies people before they share an article has prompted more reading and more informed tweeting. Through the implementation of this feature, they found that people open articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt, and people opening articles before retweeting has increased by 33%.

Facebook Fact-checking initiative

To tackle the spread of misinformation on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook launched its first fact-checking initiative in December 2016. Since then, the programme is now in a range of countries around the world. Facebook works with a range of certified independent third-party fact-checking organisations in each country. The focus of the fact-checking programme is “identifying and addressing viral misinformation, particularly clear hoaxes that have no basis in fact.”

The programme involves the following:

  • Identifying false news by using a range of signals like feedback from people on Facebook
  • Reviewing content for accuracy
  • Ensuring fewer people see misinformation by rating content False, Altered or Partly False so it appears less prominently on Feeds or Stories and rejecting ads with content that has been rated accordingly
  • Acting against repeat offenders in the form of restrictions on their page or account

To learn more about the programme visit: Fact-checking on Facebook 

In addition to this initiative, Facebook has also taken the following action:

Google invests to help fight coronavirus misinformation

In April 2020 Google announced that they were investing $6.5 million in funding to fact-checkers and non-profits fighting misinformation around the world, with an immediate focus on coronavirus.

YouTube COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy

YouTube introduced a policy which tackles content that contradicts World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities’ guidance on issues related to the treatment, prevention, diagnostic or transmission of Covid-19.

Tackling disinformation across Google products

Google also produced a White Paper in the early part of 2019 which lays out their commitment to tackling the intentional spread of misinformation across Google Search, Google News, YouTube, and their advertising systems. It focuses on three foundational pillars:

  • Improving products so they continue to make quality count;
  • Counteract malicious actors seeking to spread disinformation;
  • Giving people context about the information they see.

The White Paper also explains how they work beyond our products to support a healthy journalistic ecosystem, partner with civil society and researchers, and stay one step ahead of future risks.

TikTok uses a three-step approach to combat misinformation

To keep misleading information and deceptive content and accounts from the platform, TikTok launched three measures:

1. Enhancing its misinformation policies

The updated Community Guidelines prohibit misinformation that could cause harm to the TikTok community or the larger public, including content that misleads people about elections or other civic processes, content distributed by disinformation campaigns, and health misinformation. These updates were developed with industry experts, and the language reflects input from members of their Content Advisory Council.

2. Expanding reporting options and fact-checking

In addition to working with their Content Advisory Council, which includes experts on deep fakes, free speech, inclusive AI, and more, they partnered with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to fact check potential misinformation related to the 2020 US election.

3. Countering foreign interference

Ahead of the 2020 Presidential election they also worked with the US Countering Foreign Influence Task Force (CFITF) to help stop the threat and dangers of foreign influence on elections.

Learn more about these initiatives here.

Snapchat working with publishers to provide trusted news

To help young people on their platform access trusted news, Snapchat’s Discover section which is the professional news and entertainment section is carefully curated by an editorial team. They carefully consider who should be featured in the section to make sure the information that is featured is credible.

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