Facebook Takes Their War Against Fake News to Germany

Last December, Germany lawmakers proposed charging Facebook, and other platforms that share content, a €500,000 for every fake news story. Then on Sunday, Facebook announced that they will be introducing a new program to combat fake news in Germany.

The new program in Germany included:

  • Making it easier to report fake news
  • Partnering with third party fact checking auditors
  • Making it difficult for fake websites to go viral on the social network

Ultimately, fake news still has the ability to be shared on the social network. But, Facebook will include an explicit warning.

Angela Merkel Facebook
Jelenia Gora, Poland – February 25, 2016: Angela Dorothea Merkel – Chancellor of Germany. (Bakhur Nick / Shutterstock, Inc.)

“However, a warning is displayed that the truth content of the contribution is questioned. As soon as a contribution has been marked with a warning, it can no longer be made or highlighted,” Facebook explained in a blog post that was Google translated.

Since the 2016 US Presidential election the social network Facebook has been actively working on combating fake news. From their new reporting programs to a Journalism initiative to encourage critical news reading, Mark Zuckerberg is focused on creating a social network that encourages real and accurate reporting.

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible.”

The first part of Facebook’s program was a four point plan. The plan included making it easer for users to report fake news, down ranking disputed news stories, changing the algorithm to decrease the reach of news websites, and getting rid of spoof websites.

The second part of the fake news battle included a new initiative, “The Facebook Journalism Project“. The new project included training tools for journalists and Facebook users.

In addition, earlier this month Facebook hired CNN’s Campbell Brown to lead the social network’s news division. Facebook explained that Mrs. Brown was not hired to act as a reporter or editor but, instead help Facebook work with other news networks.

Why is Germany focused on combating fake news? Well, Germany is going to hold elections later on this year.