Telegram to Start Labeling Fake Posts

Telegram, a popular messaging app, is set to wage war on misinformation by introducing a function known as “Fact Check”. The feature, currently in testing, will assess the truthfulness of posts and mark those deemed misleading or false.

Collaborating with Fact-Checking Bodies

Reportedly found in the beta version of Telegram for Android, the new feature will work in collaboration with third-party organisations and agencies that specialize in fact-checking. Once a message is analyzed by a partner agency and deemed questionable or false, it will be aptly marked, and users will be informed about which particular organization carried out the check.

Existing Mechanisms on Social Media Platforms

Similar functionalities are already in place on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Meta. However, the effectiveness of these systems have been called into question. According to media literacy expert Pavel Bannikov, Facebook receives approximately 500,000 new comments per minute, a volume no organization can effectively analyze in real-time. While fact-checking mechanisms can work for widely popular and rapidly circulating posts, their overall effectiveness remains low.

Applying the Model to Telegram

Bannikov suggests that Telegram could implement a system analogous to Facebook’s, using special tags for verified messages to indicate their misleading or false nature. However, the choice of organizations in charge of executing these checks becomes crucial.

Impositions by National Governments

Current information indicates that national governments where Telegram operates could independently determine the agencies to carry out fact-checking within their regions. This raises questions about the objectivity of the entire fact-checking process and its effect on the “information ecology” of the messaging app.

Official Comment Awaits

Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov has not yet commented on the testing of the new feature. It also remains unknown when or in what form the fact-checking system might be permanently launched on the messaging app.

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