Facebook will soon launch a new filter in Germany to eliminate “fake news” from users’ timelines.
The popular social media site introduced a similar “fake news” checking program in the United States in December.
Stories in Germany will now go through a platform to determine if they are accurate or not. If news on Facebook is deemed to be incorrect, it will be marked as “disputed” and appear lower on Facebook users’ timelines.
Professor Anabel Quan-Haase, social media and information expert at Western University, explains that it is difficult for Facebook users to determine what is “real news” versus what is “fake news”. Quan-Haase says,
“The problem has been that what we see is a proliferation of information, and that users really don’t have the capacity to distinguish between what is real news and what is kind of along the lines of what we now refer to as ‘fake news’.”
Quan-Haase adds that many people think of satire as “fake news”, “We just have to be careful because we don’t want to filter out things that are information worthy, even though they’re not news.”
Many Facebook users spend hours on their timelines each day reading headline after headline. Quan-Haase says a good strategy to differentiate between what is real versus what is fake is by doing a quick web search and seeing what different sources are saying about a story.
Canada has yet to introduce a “fake news” filter on Facebook. Germany’s filter will launch shortly before their election takes place.