New Delhi: Social media platform Facebook India on Monday said that it has added five new partners and three new languages to its fact-checking program in a bid to curb fake news.

News media and fact-checking firms, including India Today Group, Vishvas.news, Factly, Newsmobile and Fact Crescendo, will review news stories on Facebook for facts and rate their accuracy. The five new firms along with the existing partners Boom Live and AFP will fact-check posts and visual media in languages, including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi.

Once rated false, a story will be showed lower in the news feed, significantly reducing its distribution. Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed. This helps curb the spread of financially motivated false news.

The platform stated that curbing the distribution will stop the hoax from spreading, thereby reducing the number of people who see it.

Facebook said that in the past it has been able to reduce the distribution of a fake news story by 80%.

“We are committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook, especially ahead of the 2019 general election campaign season. One way to do that is by growing our partnership with third-party fact-checkers. We now have seven partners across the country covering six languages who will review and rate the accuracy of stories on Facebook," said Manish Khanduri, news partnership head, Facebook India.

Facebook noted that till date most of the fact-checking partners have focused on reviewing articles, but misinformation can spread easily through photos and videos. It has recently introduced the ability for checkers to review photos and videos to help identify and take action against more types of misinformation.

“We know this is going to be a long-term commitment for us because the tactics used by bad actors are always changing. So we're trying to take action in the short-term but also invest in partnerships, tools and technology we'll need to stay ahead of new types of false news as well," Khanduri added.

Facebook also stated that it is empowering users to spot fake news by notifying people or page admins when they've shared false news. Fact-checkers will provide more context on false news posts by writing articles providing more information on the post. These articles will appear right below the original post in the news feed in the related articles.

Users are also actively being asked to learn how to spot false news and provide feedback and take action on a story they think is false.

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