French media tackles fake news head-on before elections

Thirty-seven French news organisations launched “CrossCheck” on Tuesday, an online fact-checking service intended to debunk the “fake news”. Google and Facebook have supported the project.

Reuters/Kacper Pempel

With the presidential election only two months away, French journalists are taking the subject of “fake news” seriously.

Fake news refers to false or inaccurate information published under the guise of objective and sourced news.

To fight against the rising tide of fake news being shared online and on social media, 37 French news organisations, from national dailies Libération and Le Monde to Agence France-Presse, launched CrossCheck on Tuesday.

CrossCheck is an online collaborative platform that will allow participating media partners to post examples of “fake news” from around the web.

Journalists will then be able to post their own articles, complete with facts disproving the false or inaccurate claims.

All redacted articles posted by journalists must be verified by at least two of the 37 media organisations involved in the project.

Team work

The roughly 250 journalists expected to participate in CrossCheck will track fake news in multiple ways.

As the project is supported by Google, they will be consulting Google Trends to find the most searched-for terms. Internet users will also be able to post content they believe to contain fake news on CrossCheck. And finally, journalism students will work with CrossCheck’s media partners to stay on top of online trends.

Some French publications already have fact-checking services, such as centrist daily Le Monde’s “The Decoders” (“Les Décodeurs”).

Adrien Sénécat is part of the Decoders team, and he says that “it will be interesting to collaborate with other news organisations.”

“This way we won’t be working alone in our corner,” he adds. “One media alone can’t tackle everything that’s shared online.”

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