Politics

Facebook Indicates Liberal Sites Will Judge ‘Fake News’

Social media giant to choose fact checkers from list including left-leaning Snopes, The Washington Post, Climate Feedback

Facebook will not only begin policing fake news, but could also begin relying on the judgments of liberal-leaning sites to determine which stories to flag.

If a story is disputed, it will be flagged. People will be able to see this flag — not surprisingly, with text in scarlet hue — below the post.

“We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations.”

“We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share,” Facebook officials wrote on their site. “We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.”

Facebook will send news for a judgement to sites that have signed a fact-checking “code of principles.” So far, the list of those sites includes Snopes, a site once dedicated to debunking urban legends, and which has been drifting leftward for years.

The Washington Post’s fact-checking site is also on the list. The Post and even its fact-checking site have long demonstrated an intense, sometimes unhinged, hostility toward President-Elect Donald Trump.

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The Post even gave son Eric Trump “four Pinocchios,” the highest rating for an error or lie, for quoting  from a science blog hosted on The Post’s own domain.

The list includes also includes a site, Climate Feedback, dedicated entirely to smacking down stories that do not fit the narrative on climate change.

Among the sites Climate Feedback cites for using the site as a resource are the far-left outlet Slate, The Washington Post, and the activist group Media Matters for America. Media Matters was founded by liberal activist David Brock and was used as a platform to bash stories damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president.

Facebook will rely on the code of fact-checking principles to judge who can help out on their quest to punish, label, and banish fake news. The code was developed by the Poynter Institute, a liberal-leaning journalism ethics think tank that owns perhaps the most liberal paper in Florida, the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times).

At the end of last year, PolitiFact, the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking site, awarded Trump the “lie of the year” for various misstatements made in 2015. (The lie of the year for 2016 was — you guessed it — fake news, which the media often asserts helped Trump win.)

PolitiFact is loathed by many conservative thinkers and journalists, because they see it as far more liberally biased than the Post.

“The idea of PolitiFact censoring political speech at any major social media network is horrifying,” said Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard, on Twitter following the news.

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Hemingway also shared that he once confronted the head of PolitiFact.

“He no joke told me that based on what people tell him at parties he thinks he’s fair,” tweeted Hemingway.

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Facebook has been torn by charges from Democrats and liberals that it helped spread fake news before the election.

Even before that, Facebook had trouble with conservatives — for censorship. In May, Gizmodo reported that Facebook administrators were knocking conservative news out of trending topics, even if a user might be interested in that news.

Zuckerberg flew a number of conservative media persons out to California to talk about the issue.

Now that Democrats and liberals have ruminated about seeing Democrat Hillary Clinton lose the presidential election, they have laid some blame on social media, especially Facebook, for spreading “fake news.”

The fear, though, is that Facebook didn’t learn anything from the Gizmodo story and that legitimate fake news has been conflated with stories uncomfortable for the left.

“The danger here is that when liberals try to define ‘fake news.’ It can be defined as ‘fake angles,’ as in ‘things that should not be explored,'” said Tim Graham, the director of analysis for the conservative-leaning Media Research Center, in an email to LifeZette last month.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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