France’s National Front Slams Facebook’s Attempt to ‘Police’ Online News
The launch of the Crosscheck project by Facebook and Google in collaboration with over a dozen French news outlets is an attempt to “fight the National Front” and prevent Marine Le Pen from winning the presidential election, Front National politicians told Sputnik.
On Monday tech giants Facebook and Google announced the launch of the Crosscheck project, an initiative ostensibly intended to prevent false news stories from being distributed on the internet.The launch of Crosscheck has been timed to coincide with France’s presidential elections. The first round of the election takes place April 23, followed by a run-off between the top two candidates on May 7 if no first-round candidate wins a majority.
The project is run by First Draft News, which bills itself as a “nonprofit coalition,” formed in June 2015 “to raise awareness and address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age.”
The project is being launched in France on February 27, where Crosscheck has made agreements with 16 French news outlets, including AFP, Le Monde and Buzzfeed News. These news websites have pledged to “ensure that accurate reports reach citizens across the country and beyond.”
Crosscheck is seen as a response to the recent election campaign in the US, where some news media expressed concerns that “fake news” distributed on Facebook persuaded the electorate to vote for Donald Trump over the overwhelming favorite for the Presidency, Hillary Clinton.
Many news outlets in Europe and the US are keen to draw parallels between Donald Trump and National Front leader Marine Le Pen, since they share a Eurosceptic, anti-immigration platform.
Davy Rodriguez, deputy director of the Front national de la jeunesse (FNJ), the youth wing of the right-wing party, told Sputnik Francais that the media involved in the Crosscheck initiative are interested in promoting their own candidates, at the expense of the National Front.
Rodriguez said that he opposes the interference of Google and Facebook in the French election, and cast doubt on the credentials of US companies to warn the French about “fake news.”
In second place is former Economy Minister and En Marche! founder Emmanuel Macron with 20.5 percent. Center-right candidate Francois Fillon is supported by 18.5 percent, and Benoit Hamon of Francois Hollande’s Socialists is fourth with 15.5 percent support.
In spite of concerns over the impact of so-called “fake news” on the US election, a working paper from academics at the universities of Stanford and New York shows that social media played a much smaller role in the US election than some might think.
“A reader of our study could very reasonably say, based on our set of facts, that it is unlikely that fake news swayed the election,” said Gentzkow, an economics professor and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), in a press release.