Facebook on 10th January revealed the Journalism Project, which is intended to establish stronger ties with the journalism industry.

Through the project, Facebook aims to bolster the standard of journalism on the network. Among other things, the project aims to handle the fake news issue that flaring throughout the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath.

Among the steps on the Journalism Project’s road map:

  1. Collaborating with news organizations to develop product, as well as creating new story formats to better suit their needs, and making new business models to assist partners better distribution and legalize their content
  2. Working with The primary Draft Network to produce virtual certification for content
  3. Partnering with the Poynter Institute to launch a certificate program for e-learning journalism courses and providing native newsroom coaching with various partners
  4. Letting Page admins designate specific journalists as contributors in order that they will go on behalf of the page
  5. Providing free access to social media analytics on the CrowdTangle platform Facebook recently purchased
  6. Continuing efforts to curb fake news
  7. Providing a live update feature for publishers

The road map “is not directly related to fake news but is part of our ongoing efforts to work more collaboratively with our media partners,” Facebook gave a statement provided to TechNewsWorld by company representative Liz Allbright.

“In the end we hope all of these efforts, together, will enable our community to have meaningful conversations, to be informed and to be connected to each other,” the company added.

Who Benefits?

Facebook’s plans may gain advantage thought for media, which struggled to deliver election coverage amid accusations of bias and competition from fake news reports.

“Approval of the mainstream media is around 6 percent — lower than that of Congress,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“Journalism’s scrambling to find relevancy and legitimacy in this new online world,” he told TechNewsWorld.

58% of participants in a very recent online survey said they trusted the sites they used to update themselves. 32% said Facebook was their main basic source of news.

“Journalism as a craft has been considerably diminished by the last election, where main news sources released all pretense of objectivity in an effort to influence the election,” Jude maintained.

“Rehabilitation depends on getting involved in efforts to provide objective news feeds that people can trust. In this sense, the Facebook efforts will help,” he added. Facebook’s efforts will “provide access to eyeballs” for its media partners, Jude said, which could lead to more effective monetization of their content and greater revenue.

News as a Weapon of War

James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology said “Fake news can be leveraged as disinformation or propaganda, as well as to carry malware”

While the Journalism Project may deter some fake news in the short term, “persistent adversaries will either develop more convincing fake news articles to propagate, or will develop methods to circumvent [the project’s] controls,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Adversaries “can easily define the parameters the project uses to categorize fake news and develop lures within those parameters,” Scott explained. Further, the project “doesn’t stop malvertising on legitimate sites linked to Facebook.”

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