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Facebook Germany says it will start tackling fake news in weeks
January 15, 2017 / 3:38 PM / in 6 months

Facebook Germany says it will start tackling fake news in weeks

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A picture shows the Facebook logo at the Facebook office in Berlin, Germany, August 29, 2016.Stefanie Loos - RTX2NN4K

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Facebook said on Sunday it would update its social media platforms in Germany within weeks to reduce the dissemination of fake news.

"Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook," the U.S. technology company's German-language newsroom said.

"We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks."

German Justice Minister Heiko Mass has repeatedly called on Facebook to respect laws against defamation in Germany that are stricter than those in the United States.

Other government officials have expressed concern that fake news and "hate speech" on the internet could influence a parliamentary election in September in which chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term in office.

The Facebook note said the company would make it easier to report items suspected to be fake news and work with external fact-checking organizations.

One of those, German-based Correctiv, has signed the U.S. Poynter International Fact-Checking Code of Principles, it said. Facebook would require others it enlisted to do the same.

Warning signs would be attached to reports identified as noncredible, and the reasons for the decision given.

Facebook would also make it impossible for spammers to forge the websites of reputable news agencies, it said.

Germany has seen an increase in online hate speech following an influx of more than a million migrants.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Andrew Roche

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