Misinformation in India is having a good time right now. There are messages floating around like anything and the fake news is also around even after many attempts to curb the same. There are billions of users on Facebook and hundreds of millions on WhatsApp. There will always be fake news and misinformation being spread, the government, instead of curbing the news has now started teaching the innocent to understand the difference.
That being said, Facebook is doing all it can and now has introduced fact checking in multiple languages. The reason for this is that the misinformation being spread is in many languages and India is home to over 1000 dialects, it becomes fairly difficult to curb every kind of news in all languages. There has to be some kind of understanding of the news and the language to fact check the same. That being said, Facebook has added Urdu and Punjabi taking the total number of languages to 10.
The fact-checking now happens in 10 languages with Gujarati, Tamil, Urdu, and Punjabi being the latest additions. A source close to ET was talking on this matter, he said that there are things that appear before the polling and just after the polling in different languages, and he also confirmed the above information about language addition.
He said, “The newest languages are Urdu and Punjabi. Before that, it was Tamil and Gujarati. So Facebook now has 10 languages in which fact-checking happens in India. Several fact-checkers pointed out that there is stuff that surfaces just before polling happens and different types of content that peak after polling happens. Debunked information often gets republished with a fresh narrative, claiming to be from this or that campaign.”
Some people think that while the English fact-checking is happening and doing well, the regional languages, which are an important part of the election and misinformation, is ignored. “There is this big black hole of false news in local languages that no one talks about as it stays in those regions. Facebook was keen to expand its language fact-checking in India. There is this big black hole of false news in local languages that no one talks about as it stays in those regions. Facebook was keen to expand its language fact-checking in India,” said the source.
Adding languages to the fact-checking is the least Facebook can do as it will be very important. The Facebook spokesperson was also talking about the same. He said, “We don’t discuss deal terms but we want to incentivize partners to do as much fact-checking as possible, especially during this critical election period. We’re providing additional funding to fact-checking partners during the election, and as a result, several have been able to hire extra staff to increase language coverage and other capabilities. We share the same goal as our partners do: to reduce the spread of misinformation, and inform people about the posts they see in their news feed.”
There is a huge staff growth for the same. The number of fact checkers is increasing day by day and that is what the spokesperson is talking about. “Currently across India, we have a total of seven fact checkers, including Boom Live, AFP, Factly, Fact Crescendo, Newsmobile, India Today and Jagran (Vishvas). Our programme in India fact-checks content in more languages than in any other country. When fact checkers mark a story as false, we reduce its distribution by 80%,” the spokesperson added.