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January 16, 2017

Facebook Set to Battle Fake News in Germany

Facebook is gearing up to take its fake news filtering tools to Germany.

The social network last month announced a number of updates to its News Feed to deal with bogus news stories to make the reporting of hoaxes and the flagging of stories as disputed easier. 

ger-pic5The updates, which are still in the testing phase, have rolled out only in the U.S. so far and will come to Germany in the coming weeks.

“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,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We will learn from these tests in Germany and will further improve and expand our tools over time.”

The new tools are:

1. Easier Reporting

Facebook is testing some new methods that make it easier to report phony news. To make a report, the user simply clicks the upper right hand corner of a post.

2. Flagging Stories as Disputed
Facebook, in Germany, is working with Correctiv, a signatory of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles, to determine the accuracy of posts. Reports from Facebook users combined with other signals send stories flagged as fake to Correctiv which will then check the post’s facts. If it also labels an article as fake, the story will be flagged as disputed along with a link to the corresponding article to explain why.

This means disputed stories are likely to appear lower in the News Feed. While such articles can still be shared, they will come with a warning that they have been disputed. Also, when an article is flagged, it can no longer be made into an ad for promotion.

3. Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammers
Facebook has found that the majority of fake news is financially motivated. Spammers pretend to be prominent news organizations and then post fake news to lure people to their sites. To remove the incentive, Facebook is eliminating the ability to spoof domains, meaning spammers cannot hide what they are.

“It is important to us that posts and news posted on Facebook are reliable,” Facebook said. “We are pleased with this progress, but we know there is still a lot to be done. We continue to work on this challenge and will introduce these innovations in other countries in the near future.”


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.