Three US tech giants – Google, Facebook and Twitter – on Monday promised to do more to fight fake news in India, while refusing to provide any definite timeline for bringing tougher actions that could eliminate the menace of fake news from their platform.
Participating in a panel discussion hosted by BBC’s Matthew Amroliwala at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, the representatives of the three top technology companies outlined the actions they were taking to fight misinformation on its platform.
Fake news, the three executives said, were not in the interest of their business.
Manish Khanduri, Head of Facebook News Partnership in India, said the social networking giant would strengthen its partnerships with third party fact checkers to curb misinformation.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections in India, Facebook was teaming up with global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) to do fact checking, Khanduri said.
“We are increasing the number of third-party fact checkers and we are also reaching out to various policy makers and law enforcement officers to ensure how best this platform could be used,” Khanduri said while responding to a question on what Facebook was doing to safeguard the 2019 India polls.
Facebook has also taken several measures to arrest the virality of misinformation on its platform, he said.
Khanduri, however, did not divulge anything on what the company was doing to help trace the origin of fake news and rumours spread with the aim of harming people on popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook.
More than 30 lynching incidents in India have so far been linked to rumours on various social media platforms.
Irene Jay Liu, who leads Google News Lab in the Asia-Pacific region, said the company was focusing on training and upskilling people in India in a bid to help them spot fake news.
The tech giant in June announced the launch of the Google News Initiative Training Network in India in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads and Internews.
This training network aims to support journalists from across India in their fight against misinformation, providing in-depth and hands-on verification training to 8,000 journalists across English and six other Indian languages over the next one year.
Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Lead at Twitter, said the micro-blogging platform was working to bring in more transparency to political advertisements on the platform.
Responding to a question, she also said that Twitter would also consider measures for making it easier for people to report fake news on its platform.
The event was held as part of BBC’s “Beyond Fake News” – a series across TV, radio and digital that aims to investigate how disinformation and fake news are affecting people around the world.
A research commissioned by the BBC World Service and published on Monday revealed that fake news was fast spreading in India owing to a “rising tide of nationalism”.
Earlier in the day, speaking at a town-hall at IIT Delhi, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that misinfomation itself was not a problem, but information intended to mislead people was.
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)