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AFP and Google formalize their alliance against fake news – RT in French

AFP formalized on December 6 its partnership with the web giant Google with the stated objective of fighting against fake news. “Objective detox” is not however the first interference of GAFAM in the processing of information.

With the approach of the presidential elections, AFP announced on December 6 on its Twitter account a partnership with the web giant Google. Called “Objectif désintox”, “this training and collaboration program, intended for French editorial staff, will be based on an alliance of the media and fact-checking organizations interested in the fight against disinformation”, states their joint press release. .

This partnership will be ensured “thanks to the financial support of Google”, according to the CEO of AFP, Fabrice Fries, who assures however that his agency will act “in full editorial independence” and that access for users will be free. It should be broken down into five main axes.

First, online training will be organized for all media claiming the practice of fact-checking (Anglicism meaning verification of information).

Second, a common platform, supposed to serve as a hub between the members of this alliance, will see the light of day. A system for reporting fake news should be integrated into it.

Third axis: thematic meetings should be organized and moderated from time to time by AFP, meetings in which all members can also participate. External stakeholders, such as experts, should take part.

Fourth: all members of the alliance will benefit from content produced by AFP on the AFP Factuel site. Finally, an editorial support program is planned.

All this content should also benefit from the “Objectif désintox” label. “The media coalition aims to unite the ranks of actors in the fight against disinformation in the perspective of […] of the presidential election ”, declared the CEO of AFP, Fabrice Fries.

The GAFAMs are investing more and more in information processing

This is not the first time that a web giant has allied itself with the press within the framework of partnerships linked to the field of information. The daily The world had published in January 2018 an article justifying its alliance with Facebook about its fact-checking unit: Les Décodeurs.

Criticizing “the proliferation of false information, or infox, on social networks during the US presidential election in 2016 ”, Facebook then set up its own information verification system in the United States. A fight that The world assured share without reservation, hence his alliance with the company of Mark Zuckerberg.

Already in 2017, eight French media had allied themselves with Facebook by claiming to want to fight against fake news. It was, besides The world, from AFP, BFMTV, France Télévisions, France Médias Monde, The Express, Release and 20 minutes.

This growing interference of the web giants in the processing of information does not, however, take place without raising questions. The world assumed for its part to be directly remunerated by Facebook to carry out this work “since the middle of the year 2017” while assuring its readers that “this partnership does not hinder in any way [son] editorial independence from Facebook ”.

Yes The world thus praised the “pragmatism” of the editorial staff having chosen to ally themselves with the giants of the web, in fact, the algorithm has an important role in the detection of information deemed problematic.

These can then see their distribution reduced by this same tool, and accompanied by a mention “false”, “retouched” or even “misleading title”. A point much appreciated by Jérôme Fenoglio, director of World : “It is this element that decided us. For the first time, it would be possible to act on an algorithm when a content poses an editorial problem ”.

Fallible algorithms despite the trust placed in them?

Yet this displayed confidence raises questions of various kinds. For example, Facebook had drawn an avalanche of criticism for its algorithm which censored to the extreme any form of nudity. This had particularly affected the famous photograph of Nick Ut Cong Huynh who had immortalized a young girl running naked, burned by napalm at the time of the Vietnam War.

In addition, the censorship of all forms of nudity seemed in particular to have led Facebook to incorporate works of art into its algorithm before being forced to revise its policy in this area. As a reminder, famous works like The origin of the world by Gustave Courbet were censored by the social network, leading to a jurisdictional dispute so that Facebook appears in a French court.

In addition to technical questions, the issue of the political neutrality of the web giants also arises, as evidenced by Facebook’s involvement in the field of information related to Covid, its role during the last US presidential election, the accusations of censorship. who target it, not to mention the fate of Russian media on this platform.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.