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News Article

Fake News: Users are Key to Finding the Truth

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:44

Facebook in Mexico is taking concrete actions to verify and filter fake news to avoid damaging the country’s political process, the company’s Manager for Latin American Politics and Government Diego Bassante told the Mexico Business Forum 2018 on Wednesday at the Hotel Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City.

“Facebook is democratizing access to communication and improving the accountability of information. We are aware of the problem and we are doing our part by approaching fake news from an economic and political perspective. We are constantly deleting fake accounts, we created the PSI to offer tips on fake news and are collaborating with verification parties such as Animal Político and Verificado,” Bassante said during a panel addressing the issue of fake news, social media and presidential elections.

But María Ximena Céspedes, CEO of Metrics, said the challenge of fake news goes beyond Facebook. “It is centered on the new generations of people who are continuously and systematically sharing information without a filter.”

In Mexico, almost 100 percent of the population has a Facebook account and with almost 82 million active users in the country, their participation in the handling of Fake News will be key to this year’s presidential elections, the panelists agreed. “Just on April 22, in Mexico, over 8 million people were connected and actively commenting about the political debate (between the five presidential candidates),” said Bassante. The panel was moderated by Luis Pablo Beauregard, Editor of El País México.

Facebook believes that developing a holistic mechanism that supports the control of fake news is vital for the elections and the life of the country, Bassante said. “Mexico has the most advanced verification project in the world because Facebook has managed to connect with different social players to ensure access to information with greater transparency.”

Bloomberg’s Mexico Bureau Chief Carlos M. Rodríguez added that those who use social media platforms like Facebook also have a role to play. “People must start developing a cultural mechanism to interact with different types of political thinking and people. In the end, technology can be an ally not only for communication but also to develop digital awareness.”

Addressing this, Facebook has created two major mechanisms to help detect fake news: Facebook Journalism and the Initiative of integral News. “These tools will provide more transparent information to our users and also create greater collaboration with more than 70 third-parties to improve the verification process,” Bassante said. “Facebook is thinking about innovative solutions that will have a holistic impact to create better answers to this problem. We want to be a platform that gives voice to people while also generating a space for debate and transparency for the improvement of Mexico.”