Facebook’s Crackdown on Fake News May Censor Conservative News

The Associated Press, with its biased Stylebook of terms, and left-leaning fact-checking organizations been tasked with deciding what is fake news.

By Rachel Alexander Published on December 20, 2016

Facing criticism recently over the surge in fake news on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new plan to crack down on fake news stories appearing on the site. The social media giant will be asking users to report fake news stories by clicking a button next to the story. Zuckerberg said in a post on his page, “if many people report a story, then we’ll send it to third-party fact checking organizations.”

A few weeks ago, I outlined some projects we're working on to build a more informed community and fight misinformation….

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, December 15, 2016

If the journalists at those sites, which include the Associated Press, deem it fake, “you’ll see a flag on the story saying it has been disputed, and that story may be less likely to show up in News Feed.” The flag cautions the user against sharing the story. Adam Mosseri, the Facebook VP of News Feed, added, “Once a story is flagged, it can’t be made into an ad and promoted, either.”

Facebook faced severe criticism last spring for cutting out conservative news from its Trending box. There is a real danger that left-leaning Facebook users will report conservative articles as fake, and journalists who lean to the left will affirm the reports.

Facebook has 1.8 billion members, who spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the site. If Facebook wishes to be fair, it should ensure that the fact checkers it uses are balanced between the right and the left.

Troubling Fact-Checking Sites

Mossieri said they will be using the list of fact-checking sites that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles.The Poynter organization is funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros and other organizations on the left. The sites included so far are the left-leaning Snopes, Politicker, The Associated Press and ABC News. No doubt more left-leaning sites will be added.

Conservatives have reason for concern. Snopes labeled as false the story that the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich was connected to the Clintons. However, the police had not yet issued a report, nor had the autopsy been released. How does Snopes know before the police complete their investigation that there is no connection?

Politifact declared the recent #Pizzagate controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta false, as did other left-leaning fact-checking sites. Some elements of the long, sordid story were accurate, but the sites didn’t bother to mention those.

Facebook has 1.8 billion members, who spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the site. If Facebook wishes to be fair, it should ensure that the fact checkers it uses are balanced between the right and the left.

Alternatively, there are plenty of other ways to deal with fake news, such as prominently showing the name of the news organization next to an article, or requiring users to opt in if they want to see posts from fake news sites.

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