08:50 GMT +313 December 2019
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    German Pirate Party Fears Potential for Censorship From Google Fact-Checker

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    Google Launches Fact-Checking Feature (20)

    Google needs to publish transparent criteria for choosing its third-party fact-checkers, German Pirate Party chairman Patrick Schiffer told Sputnik Deutschland.

    Google's plan to apply an algorithmic fact-checking tool to its Google News service could lead to censorship, the German Pirate Party told Sputnik Deutschland.

    Its chairman Patrick Schiffer told Sputnik Deutschland that while the party welcomes the principle of Google's fact check, there are concerns about the way in which this is being implemented.

    "Google announced the Google News fact check last year and has been expanding it over the last few months," Schiffer said.

    "While I found the idea quite interesting, there are of course some questions which arise. One of them is, 'Will the news remain available for reading, or will it disappear?' Under no circumstances should these contributions disappear, there should be no censorship under any circumstances."

    "The basis for the evaluation of 'fake news' is very narrow. That is, it is being done automatically which is a big problem if Google programs the algorithms so that the burden of proof is on the publishers."

    "Then the company can't be blamed for any distortions (of the truth), but this could present problems with regard to how consistently Google will apply this principle."

    From the outset of the project, Google needs to publish "comprehensive and transparent criteria" for choosing partners in the fact-checking exercise, which also give smaller blogs and news websites a chance to join the project, Schiffer said.

    So far, the tech giant has joined forces with 115 fact-checking organizations such as the BBC, NPR and PolitiFact.

    The Pirates say that in the longer term, the fight against "fake news" must address issues of computer literacy.

    "In the longer term, there is a need to introduce compulsory computer science in schools. The problem of media competency needs to be strengthened both with regard to teacher training and student education. These are all issues which politics has very much neglected over the past few years. We are calling for the effects of digitization, which have already been apparent for decades, to finally be addressed," Schiffer said.

    The German Pirate Party was established in September 2006 following the establishment of the first Pirate Party in Sweden in January 2006. It is represented in several German state parliaments and in the European Parliament. 

    Like other members of the Pirate Party International collective, it calls for the protection and enhancement of civil rights, including free speech and data protection. 

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