Facebook data verification program expands to Central America

Facebook's efforts to verify the integrity of the information now includes six countries in Central America.

Since the scandals occurred in the last US presidential elections in 2016, Facebook has made efforts to verify the information circulating in its social networks. Latin America, as one of its most important markets, has not been the exception.

This year, following the elections in Argentina, Facebook announced that the data verification program was going to be extended to this country. Since then, these efforts have expanded to other countries in the region.

Now the company announced the expansion of its independent data verification program to six new countries in Latin America: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. This action is part of its effort to reduce the spread of misinformation on the platform and strengthen the quality of content consumed online.

The France-Presse Agency (AFP) will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating the accuracy of the stories in those six countries, including photos and videos, a work that has already been done in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

The Facebook data checking program began in 2016 and currently has more than 50 organizations worldwide, which operate in about 40 languages ​​and are certified by the International Fact-Checking Network of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

This initiative uses both community feedback and signals captured by artificial intelligence to detect potentially false or inaccurate publications, which are then sent to verifiers for examination.

Once the content is marked as false, it undergoes a significant reduction in its distribution and can no longer be promoted. Facebook will also display related articles prepared by the checkers immediately below the original story, while the administrators of the Page and users will be notified if they try to share, or if they have already done so, a publication classified as false, making it easier for people to decide for themselves what to read, what to trust and what to share.

This extension of independent verification is part of a broader strategy to combat misinformation. In addition to third-party news verification, Facebook also supports efforts to train people with digital literacy skills, as well as disseminate tips that help detect fake news and provide users with context on the newsfeed posts.

In addition to AFP, the other members of the Facebook verification program in Latin America are: Checked, in Argentina; Political Animal, in Mexico; The Empty Chair and Colombiacheck, in Colombia; and Lupa, Aos Fatos and Estadão Verifica, in Brazil.