Campbell Brown is the head of global news partnerships at Facebook and she is in India to understand and explore what consumers here want and are reading. At the centre of it is a focus on fake news in an upcoming election season and spotlight on what and how the social media giant is doing to battle it and perhaps even prevent it.

On Publishers

We are optimizing for what we can call meaningful social interactions. We have had a lot of content, sport, cat videos which had increased so much in a newsfeed that it was crowding out friends and family.

Facebook made some changes to bring down that type of content. What we are trying to do now though is change the ratio of the kind of news that people see in their feed. We are trying to define quality journalism. We are beginning to boost publishers that are broadly trusted. We are giving a boost to local and regional publishers. We are trying to elevate the good. We want quality journalism to get more visibility.

We are giving a boost to local and regional publishers. We are trying to elevate the good. We want quality journalism to get more visibility.

On Fake News

Third-party fact checking is important. We have partnerships with 17 organizations across the world. We will explore doing more such partnerships ahead of the elections in India. We now have real resources, and are hiring people to focus on this in a big way. There are teams of people thinking about it and making it a big priority.

Video Usage and Watch

We have introduced what we call ‘Watch‘ which is a video only surface that has been exciting. We have added a news section to it. And that’s where we are paying publishers to do content that will be specific to Facebook and to Watch. We are seeing some exciting results. This is coming to India fairly soon. I see the possibility here, that Watch could be a destination for news as well. Where we can ensure there is great news programming. I am excited about it.

On WhatsApp, False Messages

This is hard because WhatsApp is encrypted. There have been some product changes. You are limited to forwarding media centred content on WhatsApp to only five. Now there is a label that tells you that it’s been forwarded before and gives you more visibility on what you are seeing.

There is no question that challenges here are real. It’s a challenge for government, for media, for educating people and more.

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