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Facebook Updates Fact-Checking Ratings

Facebook has announced its latest updates regarding fact-checking in a statement released last week.

In the statement, the Facebook update outlined its approach to providing additional context for information that might not be outright false. The company released new ratings for its Third-Party Fact-Checking Program to help provide more clarity about misinformation flagged by its partners.

“We are announcing two new ratings to provide our fact-checking partners with more latitude to better reflect their research, and to help ensure that people who come across these posts have more precise information to judge what to read, trust, and share.

“The first rating, called “Altered,” is designed specifically for videos and images that have been manipulated in ways that could mislead people. For example, an edited video that shows someone shaking someone’s hand when they didn’t. Or an image where someone used Photoshop to depict a person at a location that they weren’t actually at.

“The second rating, called “Missing Context,” is designed for content that may mislead without additional context. Over the past few months, our fact-checking partners have increasingly flagged examples of this type of content to us, which wasn’t accurately represented by our existing ratings.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic and heading into the elections in the U.S. and around the world, we realize how important it is for people to understand what they’re seeing when they’re using our services and then judge its worth. We’ll begin to roll these new ratings out globally throughout the coming weeks.”

The new Facebook update also announced that opinion pieces, even ones that are framed as op-eds or editorials, are not exempt from being fact-checked. “Why? Because presenting something as opinion isn’t meant to give a free pass to content that spreads false information,” the statement read.

“This content is generally not eligible for fact-checking because we don’t want to interfere with individual expression. But there is an important exception. If content is presented as opinion but is based on underlying false information – even if it’s an op-ed or editorial – it’s still eligible to be fact-checked.”