Social media giant Facebook is expanding its third-party fact-checking programme in a bid to combat misinformation related to COVID-19 and other health issues in India. The company has partnered with The Healthy Indian Project (THIP) to better understand and curb health-related misinformation on the platform. THIP is Facebook's first health-specialist partner in India.
THIP works with verified medical professionals to fact check misleading news and claims about health, medicines, diseases, diet and treatment in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Gujarati.
During the pandemic, the social media giant has removed over 18 million posts containing harmful misinformation across Facebook and Instagram and labelled over 167 million fake news posts related to COVID-19 with the help of third-party fact-checkers.
Globally, Facebook has partnered with 80 fact-checkers that help in monitoring content in over 60 languages. According to Facebook, its fact-checking partners have been certified through the independent, non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.
In India, Facebook has 10 fact-checking partners, making it one of the largest after the US. They fact-check posts in 11 Indian languages as well as English. Indian languages include Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Assamese, Kannada.
The fact-checkers evaluate posts, check if they are factual, and rate their accuracy. When a fact-checker rates a content as false, Facebook shows it lower in News Feed, reducing its dissemination and reducing the number of viewers.
Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news suffer limited distribution and their ability to monetize and advertise are temporarily removed. Users are presented with a pop-up notice if someone shares a fact-checked post so people can decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. People who shared a story that's later debunked are notified about additional reporting on that piece of content.
Facebook said it has also launched a fellowship with 10 fact-checking organizations in India and will provide virtual training sessions by third-party experts to enhance their capabilities to combat COVID-19 misinformation.
(With inputs from agency)