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The Partnership Press: Lessons for Platform-Publisher Collaborations as Facebook and News Outlets Team to Fight Misinformation

Ananny, Mike

In December 2016, shortly after the US presidential election, Facebook and five US news and fact-checking organizations—ABC News, Associated Press, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and Snopes—entered a partnership to combat misinformation. Motivated by a variety of concerns and values, relying on different understandings of misinformation, and with a diverse set of stakeholders in mind, they created a collaboration designed to leverage the partners’ different forms of cultural power, technological skill, and notions of public service.

Concretely, the partnership centers around managing a flow of stories that may be considered false. Here’s how it works: through a proprietary process that mixes algorithmic and human intervention, Facebook identifies candidate stories; these stories are then served to the five news and fact-checking partners through a partners-only dashboard that ranks stories according to popularity. Partners independently choose stories from the dashboard, do their usual fact-checking work, and append their fact-checks to the stories’ entries in the dashboards. Facebook uses these fact-checks to adjust whether and how it shows potentially false stories to its users.

Variously seen as a public relations stunt, a new type of collaboration, or an unavoidable coupling of organizations through circumstances beyond either’s exclusive control, the partnership emerged as a key example of platform-publisher collaboration. This report contextualizes the partnership, traces its dynamics through a series of interviews, and uses it to motivate a general set of questions that future platform press partnerships might ask themselves before collaborating.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Journalism
Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Publisher
Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University
Series
Tow Center for Digital Journalism Publications
Published Here
April 5, 2018
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