Facebook to start fact-checking program in Brazil

Six months ahead of general elections, the platform pledges to reduce organic dissemination of "news" items confirmed to be false.

Facebook has announced it will be launching a fact-checking program for Brazil next week.

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The initiative will be carried out in partnership with local fact checking agencies Lupa and Aos Fatos. Both services are affiliated to The International Fact-Checking Network, a global fact-checking organization run by the Poynter Institute.

According to Facebook, "news" items confirmed as false by the agencies will have a "significant reduction" in their organic distribution and pages that repeatedly spread fake copy will also see their reach limited.

Some areas of the Brazilian government appear to be looking into the impact that the online dissemination of fake news might have on the general elections in October.

Earlier this year, the country's Superior Electoral Court (TSE) said it wanted to engage with Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter as part of its efforts to reduce fake news ahead of the elections.

Proposed legislation was also put forward to hold those spreading false news online or operating hoax-spreading bots to account, with jail terms between one to three years.