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Google and Facebook say 'non' to fake news in France

The CrossCheck initiative is designed to shut down hoaxes, unverified rumors and false claims to prevent them from being circulated online.

A site in China generates fake tweets that look as if they were posted by US president Donald Trump.
Jaap Arriens, NurPhoto via Getty Images

It's once bitten, twice shy for Google and Facebook. Together they're taking a stand against the fake news that helped skew the narrative of the 2016 US presidential election.

The two companies on Monday launched an initiative in Paris to tackle fake news stories that could arise around the upcoming French presidential election. The project, called CrossCheck, was announced at the News Impact Summit and will serve to help verify news stories being shared among the French electorate.

With polling day less than three months away, social media sites are teaming up with news organizations including Agence France-Presse, Buzzfeed France, L'Express and Le Monde to ensure they're ready to crack down on the spread of false information.

The aim of CrossCheck is to help the public "make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches and general online news consumption in the coming months," said Google in a blog post.

CrossCheck is in large part a response to the criticism of news providers and social media outlets confronted with a wave of hoaxes, rumors and false claims, commonly dubbed "fake news." Facebook, in particular, was criticized during the US presidential election last year for allowing false information that was presented as news to be widely disseminated across its platform.

Facebook has already taken steps to make it easier in future for users to flag fake news stories in the US, by working with Snopes, ABC News and the Associated Press. Last month, it also set up a project in Germany to prevent the circulation of fake news and hate speech that could impact that country's presidential election, set to take place in September.

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