Facebook wants to create “a safe space for trustworthy news”

Facebook is more determined than ever to crack down on what's allowed on the platform.


The European Commission (EC) announced that it saw “evidence of coordinated inauthentic behavior” on major social media platforms head of last month's elections for the European Parliament.

And the source of “fake news” is “old news”: it was the Russians again, said the EC, employing bots and fake accounts to ensure low turnout in EP elections and push their favored political agendas.

And apparently, once again play the likes of Facebook and Twitter like a violin.

The EC said this while presenting a document on how social media giants implement their “voluntary code of conduct” that they agreed to earlier in the year. The implementation is monitored by the EU, who have warned about imposing more strict regulation on these companies if they fail to bring the content on their platforms to the desired standard.

Populist parties made significant gains in the EP elections in late May, but the EC analysis, cited by the Brussels-based publication Euractiv, said the bloc was not yet sure about “the level and the impact of disinformation.”

As for the code of conduct itself, the EC counted “raising public awareness about fake news” among its main achievements.

Meanwhile, Facebook is announcing plans to step up content policing on its platform by creating “a safe space for trustworthy news.”

This is seen as Facebook's attempt to defend itself against constant accusations of not doing enough about the allegedly rampant spread of fake news.

The same article quoted Jesper Doub, the company's Director of Media Partnerships, who explained that presently, Facebook users see content that reinforces their habits and preferences known to the tech behemoth, over “the most important news from trustworthy sources.”

Sources will be promoted to this status after being “vetted” by unspecified arbiters, and will also have to be up to “journalistic standards.”

But he would not reveal who would or wouldn't make it to this approved list of news sources.

Addressing the Global Editors Network (GEN) Summit in Athens last weekend, Doub also mentioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's efforts to move closer to Germany's publishing behemoth Axel Springer, one of the supporters of the widely criticized EU Copyright Directive. At the time, Facebook and other tech heavyweights opposed the legislation.

Now, Euractiv writes, Zuckerberg and Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner spoke in the hope of resolving their differences over “the sustainability of the media sector.”


Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovic is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovic is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]