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Facebook takes India on serious note, partners BOOM to verify false news during Karnataka election


Soon after facing worldwide flaks from people of data breach controversy, Facebook has now taken its first step to curb any spread of false news on its massive userbase platform.

India, which might have been influenced by Facebook Cambridge Analytica recent havoc in polls, will be among those countries who use the social media giant’s security layers in upcoming elections in Karnataka.

For introducing a third-party fact-checking programme in India, Facebook has reportedly partnered with BOOM, an independent digital journalism initiative certified through the International Fact-Checking Network.

Karnataka, led by Siddaramaiah government is slated to witness an assembly election on May 12.

Despite being targeted for data leaks, the Election Commission of India has maintained its trust in Facebook.The election commission said that it will continue to work with the social media giant for the Karnataka assembly poll.

In its latest blog post, the US social networking giant said the programme in India aims “to fight the spread of false news on our platform”.

During the pilot programme, BOOM will review English language news stories flagged on Facebook, check facts, and rate their accuracy.

India will join the league of other countries such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and the US, where Facebook has already been running similar initiatives.

Meanwhile, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company has announced the launch of an independent election research commission, which will solicit research on the effects of social media on elections and democracy.

The commission is meant to focus on upcoming elections in Brazil, India, Mexico and the US midterms.

The decision by the social media major came after the controversy of data leaks in the past by Facebook, which allegedly influenced the election in the US in favour of Republican party-led by Donald Trump.

Facebook also faced criticism by the Indian government for the similar incident, which might have leaked the data of nearly 5.62 lakh people in India. The US-based company later admitted these allegations.

Facebook on its blog post, mentioned that if once a story is rated as false, it has been able to reduce its distribution by 80 per cent, and thereby, improve the accuracy of information on Facebook and reduce misinformation.

The company has already stated that it will use reports from the community along with other signals to send stories to fact-checking organisations.

It will also be able to stop the hoax from spreading and reduces 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 monetise and advertise removed,” the blog outlined.

Facebook will also send people and Page administrators notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that has been determined to be false. Besides, the company is working hard to improve the accuracy of information on Facebook in various ways.

The development was reported by TOI via PTI.

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