Facebook wants to stem the flow of fake news into Germany before election
Facebook is trying to learn from its mistakes, it would seem, after being heavily criticized for enabling the spread of “fake news” that some say hijacked the minds of voters in the United States in the run-up to the election.
Amid that criticism, the social media giant developed a feature that essentially “flags” disputed news stories on its site. Now, Facebook plans to bring that feature to Germany, whose major election in September will determine Chancellor Angela Merkel’s future as the nation’s leader.
Last month, German intelligence officials expressed concern over “growing evidence for attempts to influence” the upcoming federal election, the New York Times reported, and have watched warily as U.S. officials attributed the flood of fake news to a carefully constructed Russian propaganda effort. Germany worries that it may be Russia’s next target in its alleged efforts to destabilize Western democracies through the spread of misinformation about political candidates.
Facebook wouldn’t say whether extending their new “fake news” flagging feature to Germany was directly linked to the upcoming election. “When we launched this in the U.S., we said we would expand the pilot into other countries over time,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Money. We’ve listened to our community and begun talks with other global partners, and the readiness of German partners allows us to begin testing in Germany.”
Germany has seen an uptick in online hate speech since accepting more than a million refugees and migrants in recent years, Reuters reports.
The flagging program is a collaboration with a third-party fact-checking group that has accreditation from Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. If someone posts a story that a fact-checker has flagged as a possible hoax, a warning label appears below the link saying that information in the story is disputed.