Snapchat: We call police to check facts before publishing
Snapchat has an in-house editorial team of journalists which cross check user-generated coverage with other sources to ensure accuracy in news coverage. The company's approach to news dissemination stands in stark contrast to rival Facebook's. Until last year, Facebook had an editorial team to curate its trending news section. It now has algorithms doing the same - a move which has received harsh criticism.
The crucial work of Snapchat's editorial team
For instance, Snapchat's team had called up local police to check whether a murder suspect, involved in the killing of a woman in a white supremacist rally in Virginia, had actually been arrested after footage of his arrest started pouring in from users. However, this is not a means of censorship unless the content itself is objectionable like hate speech, incitement of violence etc.
The importance of journalists
"...We think that putting journalists into the fold is very important," said Snapchat's content vice-president Nick Bell, emphasizing the importance of having human brains in an editorial team. Bell didn't explicitly name or criticize Facebook for its lack of human editors.
The functions and responsibilities of the editorial team
The editorial team's job is to constantly look at incoming material, evaluate it, determine the accuracy of the content, and insert context to inform users wherever possible. They also provide warnings of graphic content when required. These functions apart, the team ensures that content related to terrorism, hate speech, and fake news in general never reaches users.
Editorial teams and Snapchat's design is a check to radicalization
"We take both terrorism and hate speech very very seriously, and we have zero tolerance...it's much harder for radicalists to emerge and create a large following on Snapchat than it maybe is on other platforms," said Snapchat's content vice-president Nick Bell.
Facebook's algorithm hasn't done a great job in news curation
While Snapchat is managing its content fine because of its editorial team, social media giant Facebook has been on the end of sharp criticism. Ever since its editorial team was replaced by an algorithm, Facebook has on several instances been charged with circulating fake news and removing genuine content. While it responded with adopting countermeasures, the question still remains whether algorithms can be editors.