iPoliticsLive and Facebook Canada announced Thursday they are partnering to expand iPoliticsLive’s reach and help promote media literacy in Canada, as part of the Facebook Journalism Project.
Through the project, which launched in January, Facebook aims to establish stronger relationships with the news industry internationally in order to achieve a number of goals. Those objectives include supporting independent media, assisting in the development of new storytelling formats, advancing news literacy and combatting the spread of false news and hoaxes on Facebook, among others.
The new partnership between iPoliticsLive and Facebook Canada marks the social network’s most recent step to meet those goals and represents its most extensive collaboration with a Canadian media organization to date.
iPoliticsLive President Andrew Beattie called the partnership a “game-changer.”
“I think what got (Facebook Canada) excited about our product is it’s an integration of traditional journalism and new media,” Beattie said. “Our partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project will allow us to further develop these new media channels and ensure that we reach the widest possible audience of engaged consumers.
“We are grateful that Facebook shares our vision of finding news and creative formats to bring political and public policy storytelling to Canadians.”
iPoliticsLive is a platform for news and debate founded in July 2016 by Ottawa-based political news outlet iPolitics. Since the fall, iPoliticsLive has produced more than 22 live panel discussions and events focused on a wide range of public policy issues. The panel talks are also broadcast on Facebook Live.
Through the new partnership, Facebook Canada is going to help iPoliticsLive and iPoliticsdisseminate content to a wider audience by helping to identify untapped readers and viewers.
“We care a great deal about having a healthy news ecosystem where Canadian journalism can thrive,” said Kevin Chan, head of public policy at Facebook Canada. “That’s why we’re really excited about iPoliticsLive – a project we strongly believe will enable meaningful conversations in new and exciting ways.
“This is what the Facebook Journalism Project is all about.”
Facebook launched its journalism initiative after taking a lot of heat for the unchecked dissemination of fake news on its platform throughout the U.S. presidential election campaign. The social media giant has outlined 10 points it hopes to address through the Facebook Journalism Project and its collaborations with news organizations across the globe.
Among others, Facebook has partnered with the Washington Post, Fox News, German daily tabloid BILD and Spanish newspaper El País and works with each organization in a different capacity. In addition to iPoliticsLive, Facebook is working with several other Canadian news organizations, including traditional publishers who are transitioning to digital platforms and digital-first outlets.
While Facebook has been testing specific tools in the United States, France and the Netherlands to make it easier for users in those countries to flag and report problematic content, the company has chosen to focus on the promotion of news literacy and other educational initiatives in Canada.
On April 6, in partnership with non-profit digital literacy organization MediaSmarts, Facebook launched a 10-point tip sheet on its platform in 14 countries – including Canada – about how to spot fake news.
In media interviews and in testimony before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Chan has said Facebook takes its responsibility in preventing the spread of fake news “very seriously” – but added the company is “being very careful” about which initiatives they roll out in different countries, and how they do so.
“The false news phenomenon … hasn’t manifested itself in Canada the same way it has in other places, so we want to do more of the deeper foundational work on news literacy,” Chan told iPolitics prior to the release of the tip sheet.
“What we’ve tried very hard to do is to make sure that what we do is going to be relevant to the way this challenge is manifesting itself in the country.”