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Facebook rolls out ‘fake news’ filter in Germany amid growing concern

Stories flagged by users will be fact-checked and labeled as 'disputed.'


Sarah Weber


Published Jan 15, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 5:03 am CDT

Facebook is taking new filtering and verification tools to Germany in response to concerns that “fake news” could undermine the country’s upcoming national elections. 

German politicians have been grappling with how to combat false and misleading news after seeing the potential influence false reports had on the U.S. presidential election. Officials last week started discussing plans for a possible anti-fake-news bureau, citing among their concerns a widely discredited report by Breitbart about a large mob of “young men from North Africa” setting fire to a church on New Years Eve. German law enforcement and news agencies have characterized the report as “fake news” and “propaganda.”

Facebook has partnered with Berlin-based nonprofit news organization Correctiv to fact-check news stories flagged as fake by Facebook users. Stories determined to be false will be labeled as “disputed” and will warn users before sharing. Stories deemed disputed will also be algorithmically demoted in Facebook’s News Feeds. A spokesperson for Facebook told the Financial Times that the social media giant is focusing on Germany right now, but it plans to roll out similar fact-checking tools in other countries as well. 

H/T the Verge 

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2017, 6:12 am CST