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Snapchat takes police help for fact-checking

IANS | San Francisco |

Apart from its in-house team of journalists, Snapchat took the help of local police to fact-check user-generated coverage from the recent neo-Nazi protests in Virginia before highlighting the posts, the company’s top executive said.

“So, if you look at some of the events in Charlottesville, for example, in recent weeks, we actually received Snaps from users of the driver, who had killed a woman near a white supremacist rally in Virginia, being arrested,” a report in the BBC on Tuesday quoted Vice President of Content at Snap Nick Bell as saying.

“Before we published these Snaps, we actually verified with the police to make sure that… the Snaps that we were posting to our 173 million daily active users were of what we thought they were,” he said.

Snapchat had also added a layer of context above the Snap to describe what had happened.

The approach by Snapchat towards curbing the spread of misinformation and fake news contrasts with its rival Facebook which disbanded an editorial team last year that used to curate its trending news section.

The social media giant that has been in a row of controversies over the spread of fake news on its platform, now relies on algorithms and external services to help re-build its credibility.

Snapchat currently has 173 million active daily users, while Facebook in June announced it had more than two billion monthly active users. However, a latest study by market research firm eMarketer said that Snapchat is expected to overtake Facebook for the first time in the US this year.