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This French Newspaper Found An Antidote To Fake News Online

Libération created a journalist-powered search engine during the French presidential election to fight fake news with real facts.

This French Newspaper Found An Antidote To Fake News Online

We all know that Google, Facebook, and Apple are ramping up their efforts to fight the phenomenon of fake news. But for the recent French presidential election, one newspaper took a decidedly lo-fi approach to creating a new search engine.

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Libération worked with ad agency JWT Paris to launch CheckNews.fr, not run on algorithms but with real journalists researching real questions. If you sent in a question, a journalist would track down the truth behind the answer, with each query taking an average of 2.5 hours. It may have been “the slowest search engine on earth,” but the paper also boasted it was the most reliable.

According to JWT Paris, during the campaign that eventually saw moderate Emmanuel Macron elected, #CheckNews became the most trending term on French social media, with 128 million media impressions generated in three days. The paper managed to cover and fact check 872 topics, and the respone was so good, Libération has decided to turn it into a permanent tool for its readers.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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