Berkeley, Cornell partner with Facebook to identify ‘fake news’

  • UC Berkeley, Cornell University, and the University of Maryland are working with Facebook to identify fake news.
  • Berkeley's College Republicans had a thing or two to say about this....

Facebook is partnering with the University of California-Berkeley, Cornell University, and the University of Maryland to identify fake news.

The tech giant is investing $7.5 million into projects at the three schools, according to a UC Berkeley news release. The two Berkeley professors who will work with Facebook are Hany Farid and Alexe Efros, who are both part of UC-Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. 

"I’d like to see a healthier online experience..."   

Farid has been a longtime critic of social media companies and the danger that doctored videos and images pose online. The professor has commented on this subject for CNN and admitted to the school that he is “skeptical” of the new partnership with Facebook. 

“I have been skeptical,” he told Berkeley News. “But I have agreed to work with [Facebook] for a year on the technology. For over a decade now, I’ve been pushing them and other big tech companies to take more responsibility for social media, for misinformation and fake news. I’d like to see a healthier online experience, and I am hoping that this is a first step in that direction.” 

[RELATED: Facebook awards USC students for ‘bias-busting’ app]

Farid added that his work will involve creating technology to detect “fake news, fake images, and fake videos.”

Campus Reform reached out to Farid with questions about how such a technology could detect fake news without political bias, but received no response in time for publication. 

Farid wasn’t the only member of the Berkeley community who was skeptical. The Berkeley College Republicans told Campus Reform that while well-intentioned, this effort could lead to censorship of conservative content. 

“The underlying premise of Facebook's repeated crusades to eliminate misinformation and fake content is the belief that Americans are exceedingly gullible and need benevolent overlords to protect them from consuming the wrong information,” Berkeley College Republicans External VP Rudra Reddy told Campus Reform

“As we have seen in the past, misinformation is often used as a cover by social media giants for censoring right-leaning websites and content,” Reddy added. “We wish the Berkeley faculty members involved in this process well but would urge them not to recommend the adoption of any community standard that they would find unacceptable if applied to content that appeals to their political biases.”

[RELATED: Facebook gives Ga. TA the boot after ‘white people’ remarks. Will UGA follow suit?]

Efros, Berkeley College Democrats, Cornell University, and the University of Maryland did not return requests for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @eduneret



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Eduardo Neret
Eduardo Neret | Digital Reporter

Eduardo Neret is a digital reporter for Campus Reform. Prior to taking on his current position, Eduardo served as the Senior Florida Correspondent for Campus Reform and founded a conservative web publication where he hosted a series of interviews with notable conservative commentators and public figures. Eduardo’s work has appeared on the Fox News Channel, FoxNews.com, The Washington Examiner, Daily Caller, The Drudge Report, The Blaze, and The Daily Wire. He most recently served as a contributor to the Red Alert Politics section of The Washington Examiner. In addition to his independent journalism, Neret also previously worked at the Department of Justice and the Fox News Channel. He has appeared on numerous radio programs and NewsMaxTV to discuss his work and comment on relevant political issues.

20 Articles by Eduardo Neret