After the media in the US attempted to blame Donald Trump’s presidential victory on ‘fake news’, Germany has voiced their own concern that the upcoming election could suffer a similar problem. The fear, as a result, prompted Facebook to roll out a specialized filtering system that will make an effort to stop the spreading of news users deem to be discreditable.
Just as it was last year in the US, Germany is facing a pivotal election season later this year as German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term at a time when her popularity is hitting new lows. This lack of favorability has led to a rise in new political parties that have been known to push extremist agendas, and while in any other normal election season they’d be seen as harmless, the unexpected Trump victory has those up for reelection leaving nothing to chance.
Also leaving nothing to chance is Facebook, which has suffered a series of harsh criticisms from Germany after lawmakers have made repeated attacks against the social network’s lack of acceptable response to posts considered to include hate speech. After the ‘fake news’ claims began hitting late last year, Facebook was once again a target as German lawmakers proposed fines of up to €500,000 ($525,000) per story, prompting the company to create a new filtering system to stop the discredited news from going viral.
With the new system, stories flagged as ‘fake’ will be sent to Correctiv, a third-party fact-checking service, which will then assess the news for its legitimacy. If the story is deemed untrustworthy, it will not be completely removed from Facebook, but instead feature a warning to users and also moved to the bottom of the companies news feed algorithm.