With the increase in fake news stories circulating social media platforms and networks, tech companies and advocates have been busy trying to find a solution to ensure a flow of accurate content.
Facebook just recently announced that it would ban Pages circulating such stories repeatedly from advertising on its site.
Now, Snap Inc. has joined the calls for media companies to act and announced an in-house solution. The company is adding a team of fact-checkers to help review content that is being uploaded to the content pages of Snapchat.
Snapchat Discover is the app’s destination for publishers to share news content with users.
According to VP of Content at Snap Inc, Nick Bell, Snapchat enables publishers to reach younger audiences, and also helps to aggregate content from live events such as protests. He told the BBC Radio 4 World at One programme:
“We have a news team – we have journalists who work at Snapchat, who are looking at content that comes in and are evaluating it, are determining whether it is accurate, whether it is relevant and how we can add additional context.”
He highlighted an example from the recent Charlottesville protests:
“So if you look at some of the events in Charlottesville, for example, in recent weeks, we actually received Snaps from members of our community of the driver being arrested. Before we published these Snaps, we actually verified with the police to make sure that it was accurate, that the snaps that we were posting to our 173m daily active users were of what we thought they were. And we added a layer of context above that as well to describe what had happened, who this person was.”
Rival Facebook had previously installed a team of content curators. However, the social media group decided to opt for an algorithm-based content verification system instead to avoid team bias.
What’s different about the latest Snapchat addition is that it does not only affect Discover publishers. Indeed, Snapchat already works with a select group of publishers only – many of which are regarded as trustworthy media sources.
The fake news team will be looking at user-generated content that is submitted to the community.
“We think that actually putting journalists into the fold is very, very important, and one of the things that we think we’re really lucky to have is 173m people every single day who are sharing what they see in the world around them, and we can package these up into really powerful stories. The shows and the content that we program on Snapchat is highly curated. We love the concept of actually taking people on a journey, having very credible perspectives who guide you through the topics of the day,” Bell adds.