Facebook has announced new tools to be introduced in Germany to combat news stories that are untrue or have been fabricated entirely.

The trial among German users of the world's largest social network will allow them to flag false stories, which will then be passed to third-party fact checkers for verification.

If the articles are found to be unreliable, they will be marked in users' news feed as such.

A post explaining the move read:

We believe that with additional context people can decide for themselves what they want to share and who they trust. 

With this in mind, we have launched a program in which we will work with external fact checkers.

These organisations are signatories of Poynter's International Fact Checking Code of Principles.

The fact checker in question is Correctiv, a German non-profit body of investigative journalists.

It will still be possible to share posts from fake news websites, however a warning will display that the veracity of the site is disputed.

Facebook is also testing the system with fact-checkers in the United States, who must sign up to Poynter's code of principles, of which there are currently 43 signatories internationally, including several news organisations.

Last week, BuzzFeed found that Facebook pages with large followings were publishing fabricated stories about Chancellor Angela Merkel who is currently seeking re-election.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has repeatedly called on Facebook to respect the country's defamation laws and monitor fake news on the platform.

In October last year he complained of an 'all talk' approach by the social network:

In spite of all the announcements by Facebook, our prosecutors are still compelled to fill hours of meaningless forms, which stay unprocessed by Facebook.


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