Fake news and disinformation complicate public discourse. – One of the answers to this phenomenon lies in data protection law, with the help of which the dissemination of such…

Fake News, Disinformation, Online Propaganda, Hate Speech...


Whether for "mood swindle", for stigmatizing individuals or as a targeted means in election campaigns: false information, in New German "fake news", especially those that circulate in social networks, are on everyone's lips. Mostly, however, without knowing exactly what and who is behind it.
The research association Forum Privatheit has therefore published a policy paper that explains what fake news is, who creates and disseminates it, what effect it has and how it is relevant to criminal law.
The fact is that there have always been false reports - from April jokes to forgeries like the "Hitler Diaries" to state propaganda campaigns with targeted false reports to justify acts of war.
In principle, valid knowledge and any assertions can and could be distinguished from each other. The first prerequisite for this are discourses in which different interest groups deal with each other's positions. Secondly, there is the obligation to tie truth assertions back to control mechanisms such as research results or documentations. Both mechanisms are currently being destabilized.

The DORIAN project, which emerged from the Forum Privatheit research association, has therefore investigated in particular how fake news and targeted disinformation can be identified and how these can be combated.
Thus, certain textual features such as scandalisation, deviation from headline and text as well as an illogical text structure often point to targeted disinformation. These can then be spread rapidly over the Internet. What can politics, society and the media do to effectively curb their spread?
Citizens should report potential disinformation to the operators of the platform concerned. Site operators should block or delete content that is relevant under criminal law, but should not arbitrarily restrict freedom of expression. The media should support the correction of false reports by embedding the right facts in a story and thus contributing to its dissemination. Thus, on the one hand, the interest of Internet users in reading can be aroused and, on the other hand, the story can help to ensure that the right information is included in the users' knowledge base.

Further information on this topic can be found in the policy paper “Fake News” published by Forum Privatheit and in the policy paper of the interdisciplinary research project DORIAN:
Policy Paper
Fake NewsFake NewsFake News

Policy Paper
Uncovering and combating disinformationUncovering and combating disinformationUncovering and combating disinformation

Two events of the Forum Privatheit took place on this topic:
Symposium of the Forum Privatheit: “From Profiling to Fake News” and practical workshop “Fake News
Symposium of the Forum Privatheit: “”What comes after Cambridge Analytica? Setting New Rules for Consumer Protection” (Brussels)”

In addition, you will find press releases on the topic under the research focus “Disinformation”“Disinformation”“Disinformation”.