Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have joined a voluntary group of over 30 news and technology companies to tackle fake news and spread literacy among users about news sources. The group originally formed in June 2015 consists of bigwigs like Google, New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, AgenceFrance-Presse and CNN.
First Draft Coalition, created last year to improve the quality of information on social media, involves a voluntary code of practice to promote news literacy among users for which the group would launch a medium where members can verify doubtful news stories. This platform is likely to be launched by the end of October this year.
Apart from these mainstream media organisations, the group will also include some new members such as Al Jazeera's AJ+, Breaking News, Amnesty International, European Journalism Centre, the American Press Institute and IBTimes UK.
Fake news stories and fake pictures on current developing stories has been a major bone of contention among social media companies, media houses and critics. Critics have often blamed the ineffective filtering techniques on these platform for not blocking such content which often end up fuelling violence.
In response to such issues in August, Facebook focused on automation and AI to select the most-talked about topics of the day for its popular "Trending" section as opposed to human editors making the selection. Prior to that Twitter in July removed posts from Islamic extremists celebrating the Nice truck attack in France.
However, these are not enough to remove the presence of fake news circulating on an everyday basis. The group thus aims to tell users what sources and points to look out for when trying to differentiate between a fake and original story. It will also educate users not to blindly believe breaking stories of death, terror attacks, riots, earthquake, and more unless they are confirmed by an established authority.