Posted in Announcements

The fight against fake news

, by Lauren Easton

As part of its broader fact-checking efforts, The Associated Press announced Thursday that it will work with Facebook to help identify and debunk trending “news” stories being shared online that are false.

AP stories dispelling patently false trending news articles already appear on the AP wire, on and on the AP News app. These stories, which will now say “AP Fact Check” in the headline, include details on AP’s efforts to verify the facts in fake news stories.

Now, when AP or another participating fact-check organization flags a piece of content as fake, Facebook users will see that it has been disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. That flag will follow the content if a Facebook user chooses to share it.

“AP has long done some of the most thorough fact-checking in the news business,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s incoming executive editor. “This initiative is a natural extension of that tradition, and of the AP’s long-standing role setting the standards for accuracy and ethics in journalism.”

AP has consistently provided nonpartisan fact checks to its member news organizations and customers, which objectively examine the claims of politicians and government and other officials.

In recent weeks, AP has been identifying fake news stories, such as a false report that President-elect Donald Trump had allowed a homeless woman to live in Trump Tower. It also debunked a trending story that claimed Hillary Clinton won only 57 counties in the U.S. presidential election.

AP has long set the industry standard for accuracy and ethics in journalism, through its rigorous code of News Values and Principles and through The Associated Press Stylebook, which is used by news organizations around the world.

In an earlier memo to staff signed by AP news leaders, Vice President for U.S. News Brian Carovillano explained:

It is our job – more than ever before – to guide people to legitimate news and help them sort out “fake news” from the real thing.The AP has a critical role to play in fighting the scourge of fake news. We are not going to transform ourselves into the fake news police of the internet, but we are going to be more aggressive about knocking down fraudulent stories when we can.
Flowers and notes left by well-wishers are displayed outside Comet Ping Pong in Washington, Dec. 9, 2016. A fake news story prompted a man to fire a rifle inside the popular pizza place as he attempted to "self-investigate" a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from there, police said. (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)