Facebook to launch Middle East fake news awareness campaign

Senior exec says public service annoucement will be combined with other initiatives such as training for journalists
Facebook to launch Middle East fake news awareness campaign
By Staff writer
Thu 05 Apr 2018 02:01 PM

Facebook will soon launch a Public Service Announcement in the Middle East to educate the public and create awareness about fake news, a senior official at the social media firm has announced.

Nashwa Aly, head of public policy in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan at Facebook said the announcement will be on the lines of similar projects it has undertaken around the world and will be combined with other initiatives such as training for journalists.

Speaking on the final day of the Arab Media Forum in Dubai, Aly said Facebook is using tools such as machine learning to detect fake news.

“We use machine learning to uncover coordinated behaviour and take action on unusual behaviour, not the content of the post,” said Aly, adding that Facebook is working on multiple other ways to prevent fake news.

“We are not content creators. We do not make news. We are only a platform. We have a responsibility towards our users to make sure that they are consuming correct and accurate information. Our consumers, especially news consumers, expect the news to be valid and unbiased,” she said.

However, she also pointed out that users in the region found Facebook as a trustworthy news source. Quoting a recent survey by the National Media Council, she said 26 percent of respondents considered Facebook to be a trustworthy news source compared to 30 percent for TV and 8 percent for print.

She said Facebook is attempting to give its users more context about news stories so they can make more informed decisions about what to read, trust and share.

The 17th edition of the Arab Media Forum brought together more than 3,000 prominent regional and international media figures and thought leaders.

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