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Facebook, Twitter join coalition to improve online news

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 11:58
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Facebook, Twitter and news organisations including Agence France-Presse have joined a coalition of media and technology groups seeking to filter out online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks.

[WASHINGTON] Facebook, Twitter and news organisations including Agence France-Presse have joined a coalition of media and technology groups seeking to filter out online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks.

First Draft News, which is backed by Google, announced Tuesday that some 20 news organisations will be part of its partner network to share information on best practices for journalism in the online age.

Jenni Sargent, managing director of First Draft, said the partner network will help advance the organisation's goal of improving news online and on social networks.

"Filtering out false information can be hard. Even if news organisations only share fact-checked and verified stories, everyone is a publisher and a potential source," she said in a blog post.

"We are not going to solve these problems overnight, but we're certainly not going to solve them as individual organisations." Ms Sargent said the coalition will develop training programs and "a collaborative verification platform," as well as a voluntary code of practice for online news.

"We live in a time when trust and truth are issues that all newsrooms, and increasingly the social platforms themselves, are facing," she said.

"Each partner is committed to sharing knowledge, developing policies and devising training in how journalists use the social web to find and report news."

The announcement comes amid concerns over the growing role of social networks, especially Facebook, in delivering and filtering news, and sometimes allowing hoaxes and misinformation to proliferate.

The partner network includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, The New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News of Australia, ProPublica, AFP, The Telegraph, France Info, Breaking News, Le Monde's Les Decodeurs, International Business Times UK, Eurovision News Exchange and Al Jazeera Media Network.

Other organisations in the network include Amnesty International, European Journalism Centre, American Press Institute, International Fact Checking Network and Duke Reporters' Lab.

First Draft was formed last year with support from Google News Lab and has worked with YouTube on verifying user-generated videos, among other projects.

AFP