Initiatives against fake news online are proliferating these days. Today, we present you three new initiatives in France, the Eastern Partnership region and the UK, as seen on First Draft News.

New hoax-busting database
The French Newspaper Le Monde has set up a unit dedicated to fact-checking called Les Décodeurs, reports Digiday UK. Although fact-checking is surely crucial in any professional newsroom, with the current impact of fake news there is a need to step up the efforts to counter the spread of hoaxes, says Samuel Laurent, the head of Les Décodeurs.

Le Monde also plans to design a hoax-busting database which will enable readers to access information about fake sites as well as verified sites and eventually, news from fake sites would show with a red flag. The first phase of the initiative will be launched in January 2017 and the goal is to have the platform fully running by the end of next year, aiming at becoming an international database.

A verification algorithm for Twitter
In NiemanLab, we read that Reuters has built a prediction and verification tool to detect breaking news from Twitter posts. Accordingly, Reuters designed its algorithm to assign verification scores to tweets based on 40 factors, including whether the report is from a verified account, how many people follow those who reported the news, whether the tweets contain links and images, and, in some cases, the structure of the tweets themselves.

The factors are combined to give a score, and those stories that meet the set verification threshold give Reuters enough confidence to tweet a breaking news story about it. The tool works best for events that are reported by many people simultaneously, and it has given Reuters a head start with breaking news but can also help in bringing verified information to the public fast in the event of an emergency.

Lie-detecting newcomer from RFE and Voice of America
This week also saw the official launch of another ‘new kid on the block’ in the sphere of creating awareness of Kremlin-backed disinformation. Polygraph.info lie-detects claims made by the Russian government and the Kremlin-loyal media. You can make friends with the newcomer on Facebook, Twitter and visit their website.

Polygraph.info comes to us in English from the journalists working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Its Russian-language cousin, “Smotri v oba” (literally ‘Look out!’), carries similar myth-busting, but in the form of videos under the auspices of the online service Current Time TV.


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