German publishers are skipping Facebook’s fake-news initiative
After Facebook announced the first phase of a fact-checking initiative last month with partner Correctiv, a startup with 20 editorial staff manually checking false claims, the social network has been seeking out more media partners abroad. The timing is no coincidence: With elections looming in France, Holland and Germany next year, the specter of fake news, propaganda and nationalist hate speech looms large.
But German publishers are sitting it out.
“Almost all publishers have decided not to move,” said one publishing executive, speaking anonymously, as conversations with Facebook are changing regularly. “They have said, ‘I don’t want to be in the first wave; maybe I will see who partners first and then join later.’”
According to sources in Germany, Facebook has a resource problem: So far the social network has just one manager in Germany for all of its publishing partners. Details on the Facebook’s fact-checking process have been scant, sources said. Facebook has sent one screenshot of how to use a fact-checking tool to publishing partners, they added.
“When you ask five questions, Facebook has the answer to none of them,” said one publishing exec. “The initiative appears to be set up by amateurs. It’s like communicating with a black hole. They are completely lost.” A Facebook spokesperson has responded saying: “We are in talks with a number of interested media partners and are answering their questions. We hope to start our test for Germany soon”.
An unavoidable reason for this lack of detail is distance. Facebook has made noise about being concerned with fake news. But German publishers complain that on the product side, there’s no one from Facebook in Europe they can talk to. Publishers want to see Facebook bridge this distance this by putting more effort into its regional presence by hosting more events and showing it listens to publishers.
There is a slight indication Facebook is willing to offer more resource and commitment to publishers: For Facebook’s Journalism Project, which launched in January, it has sent emissaries to discuss the project. “If they don’t take this seriously, I don’t know what they will,” said the anonymous executive. “We were very clear, direct and quite critical.”
Indeed, German media companies are getting vocal. Last week, German publisher Gruner + Jahr published a statement saying it expects Facebook to do much more in forging collaboration. “This includes the fair sharing of revenues with content providers, as well as the recognition of shared standards in measuring the effectiveness of advertising,” it reads. The company also demanded transparency on how content is favored. On this front, Gruner + Jahr has said it is in “friendly discussions” with Facebook.
One German publisher showing an inclination to cooperate with Facebook is Zeit Online. “We’re evaluating a potential participation in the fact checking initiative of Facebook,” Zeit wrote in a statement. Although Zeit would stop participating if the drain on resources became too much, and it would not accept any financial compensation from Facebook.
For traditional media houses that pride themselves on journalistic ethics, the idea of identifying fake stories for Facebook smarts a bit. “I’m speechless,” said Axel Springer chief, Mathias Döpfner. “We are not the correction unit for Facebook,” said Karola Wille, chairman of ARD, Germany’s organization of public broadcasters.
How Forbes’ 30 Under 30 franchise has become a top selling point for the brand
The 30 Under 30 franchise has given Forbes another avenue to sell its advertising clients on cross-platform campaigns for top dollar.
‘Outside the four walls of a restaurant’: Why The Infatuation cooked up a marketplace model during the pandemic
The NYC-focused marketplace, which offers everything from private dinners to cooking classes, will be braided into the rest of the Infatuation's business next year.
‘I believe enough in this to try to do it myself’: CollegeHumor owner Sam Reich on the brand’s future potential
In January, IAC decided it was no longer willing to finance CollegeHumor and sold it to Sam Reich, who had joined the company in 2006 to build out original video.
SponsoredWhy ad buyers (and sellers) need to pay more attention to viewer attention
By Yan Liu, CEO, TVision Like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, we all recognize that oftentimes the TV is on, but no one is in the room to hear or see it. And yet some ad buyers continue to rely on a metric that fails to account for this. To mix metaphors, buyers […]
‘The experience is much more valuable’: How publishers are testing hybrid approaches to keep their events engaging
In order to reignite the spark of excitement that experiential is meant to offer, some publishers have begun testing the limits of hybrid events.
Care packages replace canapés as Coronavirus cancels media holiday party extravagances
With social distancing keeping coworkers apart in December, media companies and agencies have turned to care packages to replace the holiday party.