​VERA Files joins Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program in PH

Facebook has partnered with VERA Files, as well as Rappler, in its third-party fact-checking program launched in the Philippines Thursday.

The program aims to help combat false news from spreading on Facebook. Third-party fact checkers like VERA Files will review news stories on Facebook, check their facts and rate their accuracy.

VERA Files is the first Philippine fact-checking organization certified through the nonpartisan International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter.

“We are committed to fighting the spread of false news and misinformation on multiple fronts, employing a variety of tools and tactics. They include disrupting financial incentives, taking action against fake accounts, applying machine learning to help diminish spam, and reducing the posts people see that link to low-quality web pages, providing people with easier access to additional perspectives and information. Partnering with third-party fact-checking organizations is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform,” said Clair Deevy, Facebook’s Director for Community Affairs for APAC.

VERA Files president Ellen Tordesillas said of the partnership: “It is important that decisions we make in our daily lives are based on correct information. Falsehoods cloud the mind and create confusion. Our aim with VERA Files’ fact-checking partnership with Facebook is to reduce falsehoods on social media and help create an informed citizenry—a vital component of democracy.”

Aside from being able to flag potential false news stories, people will be informed if a story they shared on Facebook is rated as false through the third-party fact-checking program. Also, Pages on Facebook that repeatedly share false news will be seen less across people’s News Feeds.

The program is in line with Facebook’s three-part framework to improve the quality and authenticity of stories in the News Feed. Facebook’s Community Standards regulate content shared on the platform.

Deevy said, “We know more work needs to be done and we are committed to fighting false news on Facebook. There’s no silver bullet solution, which is why we’ve deployed a diverse and strategic plan. We will also continue to expand our local digital literacy programs in the Philippines to help give more Filipinos the skills they need to identify accurate news from false news, and to think critically about what they share online.”