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Facebook steps up fact-checking in India before election

Key Points
  • Facebook said on Monday it is expanding its fact-checking network in India ahead of the country's general election.
  • The new partners will allow Facebook to monitor news distribution in six Indian languages. 
  • Pages that repeatedly post false news will be penalized by the company. 
Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, speaks as Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, listens during a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
David Paul Morris |Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook has secured five new partnerships in India to widen its fact-checking program ahead of the country's general election due by May.

On Monday, the tech giant announced it had partnered with India Today Group,, Factly, Newsmobile, and Fact Crescendo, which were all certified through an international fact-checking network. The partners will review news stories posted on Facebook for facts and rate their accuracy, with stories rated as false expected to see their distribution reduced by around 80 percent.

Facebook also announced that the new partnerships would expand its fact-checking capability to three new languages, allowing it to monitor news in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi.

Stories flagged as false will be moved to the bottom of users' News Feeds, which Facebook said would significantly reduce their distribution. Pages and websites that repeatedly shared false news would have their ability to advertise and monetize removed, the company added.

"We are committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook, especially ahead of the 2019 General Election campaign season. And one way to do that is by growing our partnership with third-party fact-checkers," Manish Khanduri, news partnership head at Facebook India said in a press release Monday.

"We know this is going to be a long-term commitment for us because the tactics used by bad actors are always changing. So we're trying to take action in the short-term but also invest in partnerships, tools and technology we'll need to stay ahead of new types of false news as well."

Fact-checking partners will be able to write articles that give users more information on individual posts, which will appear below false news stories in news feeds. Facebook said it would complement this by notifying users when they share false news.