After detailing its Journalism Project last week, Facebook is now taking the first step towards its implementation — at least a part of it. The social networking behemoth plans to update the platform to make news detection tools available to users in Germany, mentions the official blog post on its German newsroom. This move comes on the heels of the fedearl elections, scheduled to take place later this year.
Talking about the same, the blog post reads,
Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook. We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks.
Facebook is looking at this as an opportunity to rehabilite its image, destroyed for being seen as a propogator of false news stories. The social media giant has been allegedly accussed of spreading false stories that led to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump. Thus, the German lawmakers are now wary of the platform and see it a potential threat that can influence the outcome of their elections as well.
Facebook is complying to demands of the German authorities, which demand it to respect laws against the defamation of their country. The users of the social platform in Deutschland will now be able to flag fake news stories. Once a ceratin news article amasses enough votes for being false then the company will label the stories as “disputed.” The said decision will be made by Berlin-based media non-profit Correctiv, who’ll receive these inputs from the users. This third-partyfact checker will be final decision maker for terming a story as misleading.
If the third-party fact checker partners deems an user-flagged story as false and unrealiable then Facebook will deprioritize them. This link will be filtered through the News Feed algorithm and shown lower, so that fewer people see this story. Also, the platform will now also warn user before they share a flagged false story — which will have an attached reason for the said decision. It also plans to make it difficult for the spammers to forge reputable websites and propogate false news.
Facebook doesn’t only plan to roll out these fake news detection tools as a test in Germany. But it is now looking for the next destination for the launch of the same. Talking about the roll out of these tools, a Facebook spokesperson tells The Financial Times,
Our focus is on Germany right now but we’re certainly thinking through what countries will unveil next.
In addition, the German government is aggressively focused on weeding out any misleading stories against their candidates. Also, this move is ebing made by them to protect the political position of chancellor Angela Merkel. She’s up against Alternative für Deutschland and plans to be elected for a fourth term at the office.
The spread of online ‘hate speech’ and false stories against them could have repercussions for the political ecosystem and Facebook. It will become difficult for the social networking platform to operate in the country, where laws are stricter than in the U.S. Thus, it direly needs to keep a lid on things until the scheduled election in September.