A man is typing on the keyboard of his laptop on which an image with the "Forum against Fakes" logo and the text "Step for step against disinformation" can be seen.

Bertelsmann Stiftung starts a major participation project for dealing with disinformation

False information on the internet is a threat to democracy, as it can undermine public confidence in politics, public debate and state institutions. A large majority of the German population is also aware of this threat. In the participation project "Forum against Fakes", we would like to enlist citizens' help in developing recommendations on how to deal with disinformation and submitting them to policymakers.

Contact Persons

Foto Dominik Hierlemann
Dr. Dominik Hierlemann
Senior Advisor
Foto Angela Jain
Dr. Angela Jain
Senior Project Manager
Anna Renkamp
Senior Project Manager


There is an ongoing discussion in Germany about the influence of disinformation. Manipulated information creates the impression that it is genuine, verifiable news, but it is actually a means of deliberately spreading false and misleading information. According to a yet unpublished research by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, 84 per cent of the German population says that disinformation on the internet is a serious problem for our society. The aim of our project "Forum against Fakes – Together for a strong democracy" is to actively combat the threat posed by disinformation – because the spread of deliberate misinformation can undermine not only public trust in politics and the media, but also the process of democratic opinion-forming and decision-making.

"Forum against Fakes – Together for a strong democracy", a Germany-wide project run by Bertelsmann Stiftung in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Stiftung Mercator and the Michael Otto Foundation for Sustainability, starts on 24. January 2024. It is supported by the news portal t-online and the initiative #UseTheNews. The aim of the project is to educate and inform citizens and raise awareness of the threat posed by disinformation. Besides federal and regional policymakers, other stakeholders such as internet platform operators, the media or civic society organisations are the target groups for the recommendations for action created in the forum.

We need a broad, constructive debate on how to deal with disinformation. Education and raising awareness play a decisive role in strengthening the resilience of our democracy.

Daniela Schwarzer, Executive Board member, Bertelsmann Stiftung

A Citizens' Panel will develop ideas from users 

The "Forum against Fakes" is an innovative way of combining a broad online consultation and a Citizens' Panel with randomly selected participants. Everyone in Germany is invited to participate online at www.forum-gegen-fakes.de. The first question in the online participation is: "Fakes and manipulated information: What should we do to protect ourselves and our democracy?" The proposals submitted online will then be developed by a Citizens' Panel. The "Forum against Fakes" will publish its results in September 2024.

According to Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior and Community (BMI): "Deliberate misinformation falsifies and poisons political debate, so our anti-disinformation measures also safeguard our democracy. For me, it's important that the project 'Forum against Fakes – Together for a strong democracy' invites citizens from all over Germany to engage in a debate about possible ways of dealing with disinformation and what they expect and recommend policymakers to do. Among other things, we will use the recommendations as a basis for developing the federal government's new strategy for dealing with disinformation."