France will soon witness its national elections. And apart from the parties contesting the election, Facebook is also running a campaign of its own. While the other parties are campaigning for positions of power, Facebook’s mission is to ensure that the fake news debacle that took place in the United States elections, does not repeat itself here.
Towards that, the social networking platform is running full page advertisements in all major French newspapers. The advertisements are full of tips and tricks that would allow you to spot fake news from real ones. This is pretty similar to how Facebook started offering tips to its users on top of the news feed. Those tips were also propagated and given such a prominent position with the intent of educating users with regards to spotting fake news.
All these efforts come in wake of the US elections, where Facebook ultimately admitted that it was responsible for the spread of misinformation. In fact, news items like “Hillary Clinton sold weapons to the ISIS” were widely circulated among the masses. While there is no conclusive proof of the same, many people widely believe that such articles could have affected the performance of the Hillary campaign. And we know how the US elections turned out. The world’s most powerful country got Donald Trump elected as its president.
Meanwhile, this particular effort will go a long way towards convincing people that Facebook is actually doing something. Regulators across Europe have been threatening the social networking platform with dire consequences including fines, if it continued to be a medium of fake news propagation. Germany for instance, has warned Facebook and other Internet companies, that it will levy huge fines upon them unless they took down such news articles as soon as they were reported.
Well, it will be interesting to see exactly how successful the social networking company’s efforts have been in curtailing fake news since the US elections.