Apple News signs publishers for exclusive midterm elections stories

Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 4, 2018, in San Jose, Calif.

Apple is creating a special news section around the 2018 midterm elections, with stories curated by human editors as well as exclusive content, the company said Monday.

Apple News will host special midterm features from The Washington Post, Axios and Politico in addition to its curated news hits from “trusted publishers” such as Fox News and Vox. Tech’s fight against fake news is likely to ramp up ahead of the November elections, as Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google seek to tamp down the spread of misinformation.

Apple’s longstanding approach of using human editors to select a limited number of stories from reliable sources stands in contrast to Facebook’s approach of letting publishers and users post stories, then relying on a mixture of technology and human editors to weed out less reliable sources. Facebook has faced sharp criticism for its role in spreading fake news in the runup to the 2016 presidential election, including posts created by Russians attempting to sway the election to Donald Trump, according to a grand jury indictment.

Facebook is taking measures to avoid similar criticism in the runup to the 2018 midterm elections. The company last week said it was ramping up its efforts to fight fake news, including expanding fact-checking programs to more countries and for the first time fact-checking photos and videos.

Facebook had previously been particularly focused on artificial intelligence to combat fake reports, but has since increased investment in human fact-checkers.

Apple has long used human curators in its news app, though it’s been adding exclusive content and additional context.

The new election-focused features are live now, Apple said, and will remain up through November.

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