Inside AFP

COVID-19: AFP launches media literacy initiative in France with Facebook

AFP ramps up operations against misinformation.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AFP has been on the frontline in covering this unprecedented crisis and also to fight the tidal wave of harmful disinformation which is spreading almost as fast as the virus. As a world leader in digital verification, we have been relentlessly ramping up operations to help the public and impart media literacy, while coordinating efforts with other major organisations worldwide.

Today we are launching a special partnership with Facebook in France, with an educational video campaign about misinformation on COVID-19. With this expansion of our fact-checking journalism to video, we will seek to better explain how misinformation occurs, how it spreads and how we debunk hoaxes and verify viral rumours online. The videos will be shared on our French Facebook page as well as on our AFP Fact Check website.

“AFP is pleased to partner with Facebook on this important media literacy initiative to push back against a dangerous wave of misinformation and disinformation on COVID-19” Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global news director said.“It is essential we continue to help the public identify reliable and trustworthy sources of information at such a crucial time.”

AFP is already Facebook’s most expansive global fact-checking partner within the Third party fact-checking program against misinformation on Facebook and Instagram. Proof of the public’s vital need for trustworthy information in times of Covid: we have seen a 900% boost in traffic on our AFP Fact Check site. This site includes the coronavirus verification hub, where we share the expertise of our digital verification teams to debunk hoaxes and verify rumours going viral online, in light of the 800 or so fact-checks carried out since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFP was the first news agency to open a blog dedicated to fact-checking, back in 2017. In its efforts to serve the editorial priority of fighting disinformation, AFP has since gradually deployed a dedicated network that is today without equal, with more than 80 journalists specialising in fact-checking and publishing in 12 languages (French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Arabic, Indonesian, Thai, Malay, Polish, Czech and Slovak) on our AFP Fact Check website. They rely on the breadth and expertise of the Agency's worldwide network of more than 1,700 journalists in 151 countries.

AFP also supports a number of international collaborative projects:

Trusted News Initiative, an alert system shared with leading international media and platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to identify and stop the spread of the most dangerous misinformation about the coronavirus;

CoronavirusFacts Alliance, set up by the International fact-checking network (IFCN) - of which AFP is a signatory to the "code de principes" - and which has, among other things, set up a database with contributions of more than 100 independent fact-checking organisations around the world;

AFP is also involved in the CrossCheck network in France and Australia/New Zealand, as well as Comprova in Brazil and LatamChequea in Latin America;

In Europe, the Agency also works with Full Fact and about the misinformation concerning the countries with the most cases of coronavirus (Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom).