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Web giants, Google and Facebook have partnered in an effort to locally combat the circulation of fake news during the French presidential election, whose first round is due to be held in April.

The giants have partnered on a collaborative initiative aimed at combating the spread of disinformation online.

Through its News Lab arm, Google is backing a collaborative verification platform called CrossCheck, that will launch in France on February 27 and continue through the French elections .

CrossCheck will bring together a raft of local media companies to power a website where members of the public can report content they believe to be dubious, or ask questions for CrossCheck’s media partners to respond to.

The tech companies will be providing data and tools to help spot potential viral fakes pertaining to the election.

First Draft News, a not-for-profit is leading the Cross Check project, and describes its mission as the development of tools and training to “improve practices in the ethical sourcing, verification and reporting of stories that emerge online”.

At the moment, there are seventeen media partners for Cross Check — including: AFP (Agence France-Presse), BuzzFeed News, France Médias Monde (via les Observateurs de France 24), France Télévisions, Global Voices, Libération, La Provence, Les Echos, La Voix du Nord, Le Monde, Nice-Matin, Ouest-France, Rue89 Bordeaux, Rue89Lyon, Rue89 Strasbourg, Storyful and StreetPress — who also helped design the vetting process. (Additional newsrooms and students wanting to join the project are asked to email crosscheck@firstdraftnews.com by February 10 for more information.)

Facebook’s contribution to the effort will include supporting the vetting platform through a dedicated tool called CrowdTangle  to help with early discovery and monitoring of social content relevant to the election.

It will also be helping to promote CrossCheck reports and resources on its platform to “relevant audiences.”

Other tools being deployed as part of the Cross Check initiative include:

  • Spike, NewsWhip’s technology for spotting and predicting breakout stories, social posts and viral events.
  • Hearken‘s Engagement Management System to gather and respond to questions submitted by the public
  • Meedan’s Check, a collaborative verification platform
  • SAM’s social media CMS, workflow tools and upcoming Social Newswire
  • Le Monde’s Le Décodex, a growing database of more than 600 news sites that have been identified and tagged as “satire,” “real,” “fake,” etc.

Via TC