The social network commissioned the Correctiv research network to identify the false news. But does Facebook assume its editorial responsibility?
Criticism for the spread of fake news rained on Facebook without stopping, and now that company responds with a concrete proposal to stop them, at least in Germany with the help of Correctiv research network.
This is a precautionary measure in the run-up to Germany’s general elections in October 2017. After the massive fake news scandals in the US, Germany fears a similar phenomenon that could influence the outcome of the election.
Correctiv will seek to prevent fake news
A total of 25 researchers will verify the veracity of news marked “dubious” on Facebook, said the director of the organization, David Schraven, in an interview with the German chain ZDF.
It is even planned to increase the team of experts after a test phase. Correctiv is not paid for its work but through donations, and that will remain so, at least in the beginning. In the long run, says Schraven, “it will be difficult to explain to donors that their money is going to favor Facebook.”
How will Correctiv work?
False news and postings, regardless of what subject, can be detected and unmasked more quickly in the future, in order to warn users. Facebook will improve its configuration in the first place and Correctiv will be dedicated to verify the accuracy and veracity of the contents of the postings, as soon as they arrive in your hands.
In the US, Facebook is already working with a network of independent organizations to stop the avalanche of fake news. At the moment there is no direct reporting function in FB for German-speaking users. So far, they can only report “supposedly false” news as “spam”, but not specifically mark it as “false news”.
In a short time they will have the option of reporting: “This is a false news.” As soon as a post has a “relevant number of markings,” will be thoroughly analyzed by the editorial staff of Correctiv, said David Schraven.
If it is verified that the content denounced is false news, the posting will be marked with a warning by Correctiv and, if appropriate, completed with a link to the actual facts. But it will not be erased from Facebook.
In the case of certain incorrect entries, such as apocryphal quotations, the drafting can quickly make the corresponding marking and correction. In more complex cases, where facts are fabricated from real-world news, the work will be very different, Schraver said.
The role of users in removing fake news
Facebook users have an important role in identifying news or posting as false, as well as in the warning and corrective process. If sufficient complaints or indications do not arrive as a reaction to a post, it can not proceed to the verification of the same.
And Correctiv does not have so much staff to follow each of the signs. The technical and organizational processes should also be clarified, David Schraven told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The test phase will start soon and everything will adjust over time.
It remains to be seen whether this model can serve as an antidote against a trend which, by its rapid diffusion, has reached a political dimension. The Facebook move in Germany to work with Correctiv against false information comes too late, according to the many experts.
Although it took a first step to defend the veracity in the dissemination of information, with its work with Correctiv, Facebook is somehow evading editorial responsibility.