With an election looming in September, fake news is big news in Germany. So concerned is the German government by a growing quantity of false and defamatory information online that it is going further than others in pressuring tech companies to better police their networks. Parliament approved a new law this month under which lawmakers could soon impose fines of up to €50 million on social media firms if they fail to remove criminal content like defamatory and hate-inciting posts quickly enough. “Something has changed,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament shortly after fake news played a prominent role in the U.S. election. “Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls … We must confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it.” It’s one thing to confront fake news and another to find a solution for it. Germany is hardly alone. Policymakers, the media and tech companies on both sides of the Atlantic have struggled for months now to improvise responses.
The company at the center of the fake news battle is Facebook. Since the U.S. election last year, some Western politicians have put part of the responsibility — and the blame — for “fake news” on tech magnate Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company he co-founded.
Fringe websites and political blogs that spread false information are boosted on Facebook and other social networks by an army of political supporters, in some cases even “bots” programmed to spread the message.
Eager to show it is tackling the problem, Facebook rolled out a tool in Germany to let journalists spot false news when it is flagged by Facebook users. Since April, Facebook has partnered with investigative journalists to fact-check material shared on the social network.
Full Article: Germany’s anti-fake news lab yields mixed results – POLITICO.