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Facebook to begin filtering ‘disputed’ news items in Germany


By John Glenday | Reporter

January 16, 2017 | 2 min read

Social networking giant Facebook is to beef up its efforts to combat ‘fake news’ in Germany by offering users in the country the opportunity to flag dubious stories to be labelled as ‘disputed’, as it further hones its filtering tools.

A trial of the new system will see stories flagged up in this way forwarded on to third-party fact checkers at Correctiv, which will make a judgement call on the veracity of each story. Should it be deemed to be unreliable then Facebook will de-prioritise the content in its news feed algorithm.

Confirming that a test of the new system was now underway a Facebook spokesperson told the Financial Times: “Our focus is on Germany right now but we’re certainly thinking through what countries will unveil next.”

So-called ‘fake news’ has become a hot button topic in Germany following a number of high profile incidents, including that of a viral story falsely claiming that the country’s oldest church was on fire.

In the UK, meanwhile government ministers have called on newspapers to attend a roundtable meeting to discuss a fake news action plan.

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