In the final weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Reuters — one of the largest news agencies in the world — offered many fact-checks of claims about now-President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. While it exposed attacks on both candidates, it defended Biden more often.
Between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27, Reuters checked 12 claims about Biden. Most were false or out-of-content attacks against him about small rallies, being caught without a mask on or shamed for the size of a house he once owned. During the same period, it checked four claims about Trump, correcting claims that he had been endorsed by Clint Eastwood and Ice Cube. It also pointed out that, although the photo was faked, 50 Cent did recently tweet “Vote for Trump” after learning of Biden’s plans to raise taxes significantly on the wealthy.
In one of those four, Reuters corrected the particularly nasty false claim that Trump said it was “good” that 500 children lost their parents at the border.
Reuters became a U.S. Facebook and Instagram fact-checking partner in February 2020, a few months after the social media company launched a pilot program to speed up detection of misinformation before the election. The wire service created a new unit to fact-check user-generated photos, videos and more. A month later, Reuters expanded the effort to the U.K., in part, to combat coronavirus misinformation.
The partnership is paid for by Facebook. “I can’t disclose any more about the terms of the financial agreement but I can confirm that they do pay for this service,” Reuter’s Director of Global Partnerships Jessica April told TechCrunch.
- When Reuters launched the fact-checking partnership, April also told the media that news organizations have a responsibility “to halt the spread of false news.”
- With sponsorship from Facebook’s Journalism Project, Reuters developed a course in late 2019 that teaches journalists how to identify manipulated audio and visual media such as deep fakes.
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