The world’s largest social network is bringing its test of fake news filtering tools to Germany over the coming weeks after concerns were raised that the European country’s pending elections could be influenced by the spread of fake news and the hacking of political campaigns.
German users of the social network will now be able to report a story as fake and it will be sent to Correctiv, a third-party fact checker. If the fact checker discovers it is fake, the story will be flagged as “disputed,” with an explanation. Disputed stories will not be prioritised by the news feed algorithm and people will receive a warning if they decide to share it.
“Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook,” the company said on Sunday in a German-language statement. Such measures that Facebook has been testing in the U.S. to fight fake news — and which will soon be arriving in Germany — focuses on three areas:
- Making it easier for users to report fake news — currently by letting users click in the top right corner to report a suspect post
- Badging suspect content with ‘truth warnings’ and down-ranking it to make it harder for it to spread. To identify fake news Facebook is working with external fact checkers who are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles
- Reducing financial incentives for spammers to create fake news as a route to generating advertising revenue by “eliminating the ability for them to spoof well-known news websites and enforcing our existing policies on a more proactive basis.”
As in the US, Facebook Germany said it was looking into penalizing websites, which tried to mimic major publishers or misled readers into thinking they were a well-known news source.