Facebook begins 'fact-checking' photos and videos

SAN FRANCISCO, March 29 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Thursday it had begun "fact-checking" photos and videos to reduce the hoaxes and false news stories that have plagued the world's largest social media network.

Facebook has for months faced an uproar among users whose complaints range from the spread of fake news to the use of the network to manipulate elections and the harvesting of 50 million people's Facebook data by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook security chief Alex Stamos:

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Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos talks about security in the cloud as gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos talks about the Internet Defense Prize as he gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos gives a keynote address during the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer for Facebook, speaks at the NYU Center for Cyber Security in Brooklyn, New York New York March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer for Facebook, speaks at the NYU Center for Cyber Security in the Brooklyn borough of New York March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos is leaving Facebook over disinformation drama https://t.co/LUXiImuYIX https://t.co/9qxLQ8Uuv7
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Facebook’s high-profile head of security Alex Stamos is leaving the company amid a string of scandals $FB… https://t.co/PvyTRJthh1
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Manipulated photos and videos are another growing problem on social media.

The fact-checking began on Wednesday in France with assistance from the news organization AFP and will soon expand to more countries and partners, Tessa Lyons, a product manager at Facebook, said in a briefing with reporters.

Lyons did not say what criteria Facebook or AFP would use to evaluate photos and videos, or how much a photo could be edited or doctored before it is ruled fake.

The project is part of "efforts to fight false news around elections," she said.

A representative for AFP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Facebook has tried other ways to stem the spread of fake news. It has used third-party fact-checkers to identify them, and then given such stories less prominence in the Facebook News Feed when people share links to them.

In January, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would prioritize "trustworthy" news by using member surveys to identify high-quality outlets.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said in the briefing that the company was concerned not only about false facts but also other kinds of fakery.

He said Facebook wanted to reduce "fake audiences," which he described as using "tricks" to artificially expand the perception of support for a particular message, as well as "false narratives," such as headlines and language that "exploit disagreements."

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Richard Chang)

 

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