India, June 16th, 2021: Facebook is expanding its third-party fact-checking program in India to include its first health-specialist partner, The Healthy Indian Project (THIP); as part of its efforts to combat COVID-19 and all other health related misinformation on the platform. THIP Media works with verified medical professionals to fact check misleading news and claims about health, medicines, diet and treatment in English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Gujarati.
During the pandemic, Facebook has removed more than 18 million pieces of harmful misinformation across Facebook and Instagram and labelled over 167 million fake news posts on COVID-19 with the help of third-party fact-checkers. The partnership with The Healthy Indian Project will enhance its capabilities to understand and curb health-related misinformation on the platform.
Globally, Facebook works with 80 fact-checking partners that help in content monitoring in more than 60 languages. Facebook’s 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. This includes India Today Group, Vishvas News (Dainik Jagran), Factly, Newsmobile, Fact Crescendo, BOOM Live, AFP, NewsChecker and Quint who fact-check in 11 Indian languages and English. Indian languages include Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Assamese, Kannada.
Third-party fact-checkers evaluate stories, check if the stories are factual, and rate their accuracy. When a fact-checker rates a story as false, Facebook shows it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its dissemination and reducing the number of people who view it. Pages and domains that repeatedly share false news will also see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise temporarily removed. Community members are presented with a pop-up notice if someone tries to share 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 so they know there is additional reporting on that piece of content.
Facebook has also launched a fellowship with 10 fact-checking organizations (including Factly and Quint in India) and will provide virtual training sessions by third party experts to help participating fact checkers to enhance their capabilities to combat COVID-19 misinformation.