International media unite against fake news

February 28, 2017
AFP's global news director Michele Leridon said media rivalry needed to be put to one side, because "The core values of our profession are under attack," she said

A group of 37 French and international media outlets, supported by Google, on Tuesday launched "CrossCheck", a joint fact-checking platform aimed at detecting fake information which could affect the French presidential election.

The new venture includes Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French dailies Le Monde and Liberation as well as Britain's BBC News and Channel 4 and US financial outlet Bloomberg. The project is being run in collaboration with Google and the non-profit First Draft News.

AFP's global director Michele Leridon said media rivalry needed to be put to one side.

"The core values of our profession are under attack," she said. "We need to respond together, and CrossCheck is a significant step in that direction."

The CrossCheck website (crosscheck.firstdraftnews.com) allows the 37 media partners to pool their efforts to expose false political and other claims and establish the facts, First Draft managing director Jenni Sargent told a press conference in Paris.

Each partner could then publish such verifications on their own platforms.

"We find it interesting to collaborate with other editors because we normally work in our own corners and a lone editor cannot respond to all the information circulating," said Le Monde journalist Adrien Senecat.

The new political fact-checking initiative will involve a total of some 250 journalists from the media partners and will cover the two rounds of France's presidential election, in April and May.

Anyone who sees or hears something they would like CrossCheck to investigate can fill in an online form—anonymously if they wish—either via the main website or the news partners' own websites.

All the fact-checking will be verified by at least two of the outlets. If it proves a success the scheme could be continued.

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