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Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Join Network to Help Curb Phoney News Reports

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are teaming up with Google News Lab and a number of other companies to stop the spread of phony news — such as fake celebrity deaths — online.

Dubbed First Draft Partner Network, the organization is made up of more than 30 news and technology organizations, including, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and BuzzFeed, to “tackle issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online.”

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-12-22-50-pmThe network’s main goal is to put in place standards that focus on “the use of newsworthy information and eyewitness media sourced from the social web.”

“There is a thriving community of specialists working around the world who have developed and honed social newsgathering and verification skills,” First Draft managing director Jenni Sargent said in a blog post.

“With the launch of this partner network, First Draft brings these people together to work on ideas and initiatives, including a train-the-trainer programme, the launch of a collaborative verification platform, and the creation of a voluntary code of practice.”

This network, Sargent added, will also “create a feedback loop for representatives from each social media platform to connect with journalists and develop ideas for ways to streamline the verification process, improve the experience of eyewitnesses and increase news literacy amongst social media users.”

Social networks and media sites have become a much-used source for phony news, such as the reports hinting at the death of popular actress Melissa McCarthy.

Facebook itself was fooled by a fake report — that of Fox New anchor Megyn Kelly being fired for supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — and promoted it in its trending news category.

Avoiding such an error is likely a large part of the reason Facebook has joined the coalition.

“The First Draft partner network represents an important opportunity for the news industry to work together on best practices, trainings, research and more,” Facebook manager of journalism partnerships Áine Kerr said in a statement. “We’re excited to help and support newsrooms that are experts in using eyewitness content.”

Twitter news partnerships manager Niketa Patel said the partnership will enable the microblogging site to help “shape best practices, ethical guidelines and tools when it comes to discovering and verifying eyewitness media.”

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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