Facebook teams up with German news agency DPA to fight fake news ahead of EU elections

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Facebook teams up with German news agency DPA to fight fake news ahead of EU elections
Copyright  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Facebook is partnering with German news agency DPA as part of a large-scale effort to fight fake news through fact-checking ahead of the European Parliament election in May.

The Silicon Valley-based social networking company has been under pressure around the world since the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election to end fake accounts swaying public opinion in politics.

Tessa Lyons, head of news feed integrity at Facebook, told journalists in Berlin Monday that Facebook plans to increase the number of people fighting fake news globally to 30,000 by the end of the year from 20,000 currently.

Lyons said the joint-plans with DPA include a 24-hour staffed operations centre of engineers, data scientists, researchers, and policy experts, and coordinate with external organisations.

Facebook will also train more than 100,000 students in Germany in media literacy and seek to stop paid advertising being misused for political ends.

Germany has been particularly proactive in trying to clamp down on online hate speech, implementing a law last year that forces companies to delete offensive posts or face fines of up to €50 million.

Monday's announcement comes nearly a month after the European Union accused Facebook – along with Google and Twitter - of falling short in their pledges to combat misinformation after the companies signed a voluntary code of conduct to stave off regulation.

In addition to human intervention, refining machine learning methods to identify untrustworthy messages on the platform will be a key component in Facebook’s battle against misinformation.