Facebook had been subject to criticism regarding the role it played in US elections recently, though it denied having played any role in the current President-elect’s successful campaign, but now is all set to test its fake news tool in Germany before the elections in August 2017.
The California-based social media network had come under German government scrutiny this past November for allowing hate speech content go viral on its network among German users.
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Germany’s Federal Justice Ministry and Consumer Protection has warned officials at Facebook, including Mark Zuckerberg, that defamation laws in Germany are harsher than in USA.
“Last month we have some tests announced to tackle the challenge of fake news on facebook. In the coming weeks, we will introduce these updates in Germany. We are working very carefully on a solution to this problem. Our efforts are focused on the distribution of unique false alarms generated by spammers. We have also added third-party providers to provide objective, unbiased reviews of news,” the company stated.
Facebook is Hiring External Fact Checkers
To counter the growing nuisance of fake news, Facebook is now working with external factual auditors, and in Germany is going to be working with an external fact checking service known as Correctiv.
“If the fact-finding organisations identify contributions as fraudulent, they are provided with a warning label that identifies them as untrustworthy. The warning contains a link to the relevant article as well as a justification for this decision,” Facebook added.
The link which is deemed as untrustworthy won’t be taken down by the social media network and will still be shareable but will just be displayed with a warning that states, ‘the truth content of the contribution is questioned’, and will also revoke the post’s right to be highlighted.
Facebook’s fake news filtration process will involve their own take on the flagged fake information with additional inputs from third-party fact auditors as well as user reports.
Facebook also noted that while this certainly shows progress in their effort to counter fake news, this method is still in its infancy and will take some time to be completely efficient.
Currently, this tool will be tested in Germany, month’s ahead of their elections, as Facebook will also be launching this feature in other countries worldwide in the months to follow.
The company’s predicament today seems to be a haunting ghost from the near past and to avoid that ghost’s reappearance (read: public and media criticism for fake news), the company plans to improve and expand its tool globally overtime after tests in Germany yield positive results — hopefully.
The company had earlier claimed that they had no role to play in the spread of fake news resulting in the Trump’s ascension to the White House leader, but German officials are certainly not of the same view and want the social media giant to reconsider their role in the dissemination of information.