Fcebook and Instagram are the platforms that I am looking at for this
blogpost assignment this week. META, which owns Facebook AND Instagram has
carried out numerous projects to fight incorrect information throughout its
social media platforms.

I first looked at their fact-checking policy page on their website which is
titled: “Fact-checking policies on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads”. As we know, a lot of
misinformation is spread due to poor fact-checking on the part of the poster.
Many people will create posts quickly, just trying to get something out there
without properly vetting sources.

Thankfully, fact-checking partnerships are
now a part of the Facebook landscape. The company has partnered with independent fact-checking organizations worldwide to identify and flag misinformation.

Content rated false or misleading by fact-checkers receives reduced distribution and warning labels. According to
Meta, “Since 2016, our fact-checking program has expanded to include more
than 90 organizations working in more than 60 languages globally. The focus of
the program is to address viral misinformation – particularly clear hoaxes that
have no basis in fact. Fact-checking partners prioritize provably false claims
that are timely, trending, and consequential”(https://www.facebook.com/formedia/blog/third-party-fact-checking-how-it-works).

Fact-checkers will get rid of content material that violates its network
standards, which includes incorrect information associated with COVID-19,
elections, and other touchy topics that need constant vetting.

Facebook’s algorithms are adjusted to downrank content that is flagged as
incorrect information, lowering its visibility in customers’ feeds, as well.
This discusses their ranking system on their page: Our
Approach to Facebook Feed Ranking

Seeing as we are beginning to enter a
very contentious election year, Meta is “requiring advertisers to disclose
when they digitally create or alter a political or social issue ad in certain
cases”. They have a page “Helping
People Understand When AI Or Digital Methods Are Used In Political or Social
Issue Ads”

I feel like Meta is acting in good faith to try to curb misinformation on
Instagram and Facebook
, but something I think that could be improved would
be in their algorithmic adjustments. They could continuously refine the
algorithms to better identify and reduce the spread of misinformation without
inadvertently suppressing legitimate content. There’s a term used in the
newspaper industry, “catch and kill”, and it’s when you catch a story
and squash it before it gets to see the light of day. It would be nice if
algorithms could get that much savvier and squash misinformation before it gets
a chance to get rooted as a post and then into people’s heads. I can think of
numerous times that I have seen someone post something that I knew was flagrant
misinformation, and I wish that person had done a little more due diligence
when it came to posting publicly.

Speaking of people, another area I think that could be helpful would be community
engagement. Instagram and Facebook could engage with their users and their
communities affected by misinformation to understand their concerns and tailor
solutions accordingly. Maybe advertise it on Facebook and Instagram that there
is an open platform on Threads, another Meta company, perhaps something similar
to Spaces on Twitter where you can listen and talk in real-time. Suggestions
from the public would be very helpful for this.

I also think that digital education and media literacy would be another
improvement for Meta’s platforms. Investing in educational initiatives to
improve community media literacy and critical thinking skills among users to
help mitigate the impact of misinformation. I would even try and focus this on
the “boomer” generation for Facebook and the millennial generation
for Instagram, as they may be seeing different types of information on each

Addressing incorrect information is a complicated and ongoing undertaking
that calls for thinking outside of the box, collaboration sometimes with
governments and third-party companies, and constant cooperation with users.

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