Facebook, Twitter and news organisations including Agence France-Presse (AFP) have joined a coalition of over 40 technology companies and news groups to combat online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks.

With the French presidential election approaching, AFP is taking part in two initiatives aimed at fighting fake news. The Agency is joining initiatives by the First Draft network, which is launching the CrossCheck project, and Facebook, with its fact checking tool that is incorporated into the social network.

CrossCheck, launched by the First Draft network and Google News Lab, is a collaborative tool bringing media, technological and academic partners together to stop the spread of disinformation online and to improve the general public’s access to verified information.

Along with more than 10 other newsrooms, AFP will contribute its expertise to support this effort to boost identification and verification of online content.

“As with journalists’ safety, media do not need to compete when it comes to fighting disinformation and manipulation. Between post-truth and conspiracies, the core values of our profession are under attack and we have to fight back together,” explains Michèle Léridon, AFP’s News Director.

Grégoire Lemarchand, assistant to the Editor-in-Chief, who is responsible at AFP for social networks, said : “Verifying facts has always been key to our work at AFP and has an important position in the CrossCheck project, where it approves the work produced by the participating teams.”

The First Draft network, launched in September 2016 and grouping more than 80 partners, brings together the biggest social networks and platforms as well as international agencies, organizations defending human rights and projects for validation of facts and verification.

After the United States and Germany, Facebook, a member of the First Draft coalition, is deploying its fact-checking tool in France. The social network will rely on several methods to check reports concerning fake news. Each user will be able to report dubious content, which will then be checked by the French partner media, including AFP. When published material is characterized as fake news by two partner media, it will be flagged on Facebook.

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