Germany is to become the first country outside the US to benefit from Facebook’s crackdown on fake news as the social media group tries to control the proliferation of media hoaxes ahead of elections in the country this year.
The world’s largest social network is bringing its test of fake news filtering tools to Germany in the coming weeks after the spread of false stories such as one claiming Germany’s oldest church was set on fire by a mob of 1,000 people.
German users of the social network will now be able to report a story as fake and it will be sent to Correctiv, a third-party fact checker. If the fact checker discovers it is fake, the story will be flagged as “disputed”, with an explanation. Disputed stories will not be prioritised by the news feed algorithm and people will receive a warning if they decide to share it.
Extremely Slippery Slope
This fake-news prevention model is an extremely slippery, even dangerous slope.
It may sound good to have third party “fact checkers”, but what we will really have is third party “censorship” that governments will manipulate.
Governments will quickly challenge any story deemed negative to them, and such stories will be removed. Proof of “fakeness” will be CIA official positions.
- What about opinion pieces?
- What about stories whose factual content cannot be determined?
- What about stories that challenge known liars at intelligence agencies?
Stories like this, that accuse Merkel of Russophobia, will subject to smackdown. So will anti-war stories like those we accurately saw ahead of the Iraq invasion on baseless lies of WMDs.
The risk of fake news is far less than the risk of being force-fed sanitized news, without dissent, approved by the CIA and government leaders.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock