AFP, Google team up to fact-check French polls

Paris (AFP) – AFP and Google France announced on Monday a fact-checking project to combat false information ahead of the French presidential and legislative elections next year.


With the support of Google, AFP will coordinate an alliance of media and fact-checking organisations to train French newsrooms, the internet giant and the global news agency said in a joint statement.

"The fight against misinformation is a major issue for our modern societies," Google France director general Sebastien Missoffe said in the statement.

"Our common goal is to facilitate the emergence of a democratic debate, thanks to quality information, which is the most effective bulwark against misinformation," he said.

AFP chief executive Fabrice Fries urged media to take up the training programme, saying it will allow journalists to gain skills and dedicate their time on on-the-ground work.

The media coalition, Fries added, "aims to unite the ranks in the fight against disinformation ahead of this privileged and always sensitive moment for our democratic life", referring to the French presidential election.

Training sessions on digital investigations will take place online from January for journalists in the alliance.

A platform will be created so that alliance members can exchange information to alert the public and partner newsrooms on fake or misleading content.

AFP will host monthly meetings with alliance members, with experts and others invited to participate.

Alliance members will have access to AFP's political fact checking content via the website and the AFP Fact Check YouTube channel.

There will also be a coaching and support programme for fact-check staff and alliance members producing their own content.

The content will be labelled "Objectif Desinfox", or "Objective: Combat Fake News".

AFP has the largest fact-check production network in the world, with more than 120 journalists writing in 24 languages in 85 countries.

Google has trained more than 450,000 journalists since 2015.