Facebook and Twitter have become confirmed partners in a new coalition of news organisations committed to tackling misinformation on social networking, and improving the quality of reporting across media.
Organised and announced by the Google-backed First Draft News, the coalition is an expansion into a new partner network intended to “tackle issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online”.
Originally formed in June 2015, with support from Google News Lab, and developed with its founding members to ‘raise awareness and standards around the use of newsworthy information and eyewitness media sourced from the social web’, it now boasts a partner list of influential news organisations including: The New York Times, Channel 4 News, The Telegraph, Agence France-Presse and Aljazeera Media Network.
In the announcement, First Draft managing director Jenni Sargent shared the vision for the partner network:
“There is a thriving community of specialists working around the world who have developed and honed social newsgathering and verification skills… 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.”
Facebook inclusion in the partner list has significantly positive implications for both the coalition and the site itself. The social networking giant is fundamental to the distribution and gathering of news but has come under fire for being a contributing factor to the spread of erroneous information and bogus news stories. The partner network is intended to streamline the process of verification of information, particularly with eyewitness media, giving tech companies a central port to improve newsgathering and the quality of reporting across social web.
Áine Kerr is Facebook’s journalism partnerships manager. She believes that the network will give them a platform to showcase the products and tools they have built for journalists, whilst giving them another opportunity to learn and improve. She commented:
“We want to ensure we are building opportunities to learn from the industry and to ensure we continually hear their questions and feedback.”