25 April 2019
Today FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated fact-checking service, has joined Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme, as part of the social media company’s efforts to minimise the spread of misinformation on its platform.
All participants of Facebook’s Fact-Checking Programme are verified signatories of the code of principles provided by the International Fact-Checking Network, which FactCheckNI has been since 2016. This code applies standards such as non-partisanship and transparency of sources.
Facebook has been rolling out its third-party fact-checking initiative. The current round covers fact-checking organisations participating in the FactCheckEU project, which is a collaborative effort of 19 partners reviewing and rating claims in regards to the current campaign to the European Parliament elections. FactCheckNI is a participant in FactCheckEU.
How will this work?
Facebook users can flag content that they think could be false. This doesn’t include satire or opinion. FactCheckNI fact checkers will review these items and determine whether the stories, images, or videos are true, false, or a mixture of accuracy. A false rating will reduce the occurrence of the misinformation in other Facebook users’ news feeds.
When such content does appear, users will be given the option to read more about our research on it; a user can still proceed to share the item regardless. Yet this won’t stop us from seeking corrections from original sources where appropriate.
One frustration of fact checking is how much effort can be involved in researching and writing up a rigorous response to a claim, whether it’s substantiated or rebuked. We will maintain our high standards. Working with Facebook provides the opportunity to directly inject our fact-checking remedy into this social network. Our aim is to improve the quality of information being read on Facebook and to increase the impact of our work.
Facebook has no control over what FactCheckNI decides to research, inside or outside of its programme; it has no input into our editorial processes. Content is flagged by Facebook users and not curated by anyone. We have no access to any Facebook users’ private data. Our response articles will be immediately published, without review by any Facebook staff. We will publish on our FactCheckNI website all articles included in the Facebook programme, regardless of claim verdict.
We will periodically review our participation in Facebook’s Fact-Checking Programme and make comment on how we think it is effectively dealing with online misinformation.
FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s first dedicated fact-checking service, investigating claims and publishing articles on contemporary and contentious topics. It believes that fact-checking can be a tool for reconciliation, by fostering a culture of critical thinking that transcends societal divisions. FactCheckNI has trained thousands of young people in school and out-of-school environments. It is developing its reach through partnership with Stockholm University in a European Commission research project, Co-Inform.
FactCheckNI was established as a project in 2016 with a grant from Building Change Trust. FactCheckNI is registered in Northern Ireland as a non-profit Community Interest Company (NI660549). The company was co-founded by Allan LEONARD, Enda YOUNG, and Orna YOUNG, and is served by an advisory group.