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Meta Layoffs Halt Development on Facebook Fact-Checking Project (Report)

In its quest to cull approximately 21,000 jobs, Meta dissolved its efforts to develop of a fact-checking tool meant to impede the spread of misinformation, according to CNBC. As reported by CNBC, “three people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named due to confidentiality agreements” stated the tool has been nixed as a byproduct of the mass layoffs.

The project would’ve helped combat misinformation by letting third-party fact checkers, such as Reuters and the Associated Press, add comments atop suspicious articles being circulated on Facebook. Vetted, credible experts would also have the ability to leave such comments as a way of keeping people informed about the content’s legitimacy.

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At present, misinformation is a concern for many, especially those who primarily consume digital news. It’s never been easier for a misreported fact to go viral and become the “definitive” version of a story via a few well-placed article shares, which is what Meta’s tool was meant to combat. The Facebook parent’s cost-saving measures has now brought production on that tool to a halt half a year into its development.

The CNBC report stated the tool was still being tested as early this year before Meta’s mass layoffs hit. To note, the company still does have an overarching fact-checking program meant to slow the spread of viral misinformation, though where the tool would have fit within it remains unclear.

Meta did not provide comment.

Many tech companies are struggling to combat misinformation and the omnipresent boogeyman of fake news. TikTok Inc, for example — which is suing the state of Montana for banning its app — is dealing with deepfake and AI-generated content concerns, as are most social media platforms.

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