Facebook partners AFP to expand fact-checking programme in India

MUMBAI: Expanding its third-party fact-checking programme in India, social networking giant Facebook has teamed up with news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) as it looks to combat the spread of ‘fake news’ on its platform ahead of 2019 general elections.

The move, Facebook said, will bolster its ongoing efforts to clamp down on manipulated posts including photos and videos on its platform. Facebook had partnered with Boom News in April to launch its third-party programme in India.

Speaking to PTI, Facebook News Partnership Head India Manish Khanduri explained that AFP has been certified through the Poynter Institute’s non-partisan International Fact Checking Network.

“One of our key objectives is to engage and combat misinformation and broadly that has been a part of our efforts for a while now. There are many things we do. The aim is to reduce, remove fake news and inform our audiences,” he stated.

Khanduri said that the platform will continue to seek partners to expand the programme. The company will also look at adding support for more Indian languages as well. At present, its partnership with Boom covers content in English and Bengali.

Facebook and its mobile messaging service WhatsApp have been facing flak in many countries for not doing enough to prevent the dissemination of fake news.

WhatsApp, which drew flak from the government over the circulation of certain fake and sinister messages that incited mob-fury in different parts of the country, has initiated measures to curb the circulation of misinformation on its platform.