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Facebook is testing a way to speed up fact-checking on the social network

The company will hire community reviewers as contractors to help fact checkers.

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Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Facebook said Tuesday that it's hiring community reviewers to help shorten the time it takes to identify a false post, as part of a new pilot program that could help the social network crack down on misinformation. 

The new steps show how the world's largest social network is responding to criticism that it doesn't do enough to combat false claims on the site. A policy that allows politicians to lie in ads has been fueling more scrutiny that the company simply doesn't do enough. 

Facebook has also come under fire for not fact-checking posts quickly. In May, it left up an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem like she was drunk, but reduced its spread after third-party fact-checkers rated the content as false. By that time though, the video has already been viewed million of times. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the company could have acted more swiftly. 

A spokeswoman for Facebook wouldn't say how long it takes a fact checker to flag a false post, but noted that the amount of time varies. 

Facebook said the company will be testing this new process in the US over the coming months. Here's how the program will work: Facebook will first rely on technology to help identify potential misinformation. Using machine learning, the company looks at whether a Facebook user has shared misinformation in the past, among other signs. The post will then be sent to community reviewers who will research if there's evidence to support or rebut the claim that's being made. Fact checkers will then use the information provided by reviewers to decide what posts to review or rate.

"If there is a post claiming that a celebrity has died and community reviewers don't find any other sources reporting that news — or see a report that the same celebrity is performing later that day — they can flag that the claim isn't corroborated," Henry Silverman, a product manager for Facebook, said in a blog post

YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, is working with the company to help make sure the community reviewers represent diverse views. Axios reported that the contractors will be hired through Appen, a company based in Australia that provides data for improving machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Facebook-owned Instagram has also been taking more steps to combat misinformation. On Monday, the company said it would expand its fact-checking program globally.

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