"Fake news" hysteria prompts Facebook censorship of real news
Just like the left co-opted the word "hate" to apply to anyone who disagrees with their godless worldview, the left now is marginalizing any reporting of differing views as simply "fake." Facebook officially jumped on this bandwagon when it announced plans to use a number of reputed fact-checker sites and otherwise liberal media entities to combat so-called “fake news.”
After taking stiff criticism for being a conduit in the recent spike in misinformation and hoaxes published to drive Internet traffic (e.g. headlines depicting famous people as recently dead, when they are, in fact, very much alive) Facebook will begin fact checking, labeling, and burying in its News Feed what it determines to be either a hoax or fake news.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the website had the responsibility to make sure it “has the greatest positive impact on the world.” He added that “with any changes we make, we must fight to give all people a voice and resist the path of becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.”
It may sound good on the surface, but the concern lies in who exactly Facebook is partnering with to "monitor" the facts. Facebook has already been accused in the past of burying conservative-leaning information. It is now aligning with Snopes, Factcheck.org, ABC News and PolitiFact - all left of center entities - to manage its fact-checking activities. But how do we know these "fact checker" organizations won't take a story like the exposure of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts and determine it must be "fake news" simply because the details of a particular story don't gel with the worldview of the left?
All these third-party "fact-checkers" need to do is take it upon themselves to determine something to be fake, and the story then gets labeled as such and downgraded in the News Feed - in other words, buried so very few, if any, people will see it.
As reported by LifeSite News, while the third-party fact checkers are part of an international fact-checking network led by the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, there is some history among them of producing politically correct value judgments and reporting regarding things like abortion and other areas.
In one recent instance, Politifact rated Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s October 2016 statement that Hillary Clinton supports abortion on-demand throughout pregnancy, along with partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding, as “false” even though Clinton has repeatedly stated her support for taxpayer-funded abortion and clearly confirmed her support for partial-birth abortion in the final presidential debate on October 18.
LifeSiteNews contacted Politifact in February requesting a correction of its classification of Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s statement during a presidential debate that Clinton supports legal abortion up through an unborn child’s due date as “false,” providing verification though Clinton’s previous statements and voting record. Politifact did not respond.
Politifact has exhibited bias as well when reporting on contraception and abortion, and in another recent instance concerning Planned Parenthood and mammograms. It also has reported that no link exists between abortion and breast cancer. Meanwhile, Snopes faced criticism more than once earlier this year for showing pro-Hillary Clinton bias in its reports during the presidential campaign.
“Fake news” has remained at the forefront of media coverage since before Donald Trump’s historic election win over Clinton last month, with Clinton supporters claiming such dubious information helped propel Trump to victory.
With Facebook and other media outlets moving to save face for their respective part in the recent tide of misinformation disseminated, the definition of the term “fake news” continues to become muddy in post-election fallout.
Facebook’s approach opens the door to abuse and censorship of conservative, pro-life and other traditional viewpoints by not limiting its initiative to simple detection of sites that may not be legitimate while at the same time handing off the task of defining “fake news” to essentially liberal entities for the purpose of affecting traffic on the site.
Maybe this is the time to create a new social media website tocounter to Facebook, reducing it to the liberal mouthpiece that it seems to be on the road to becoming.
With all the hysteria on the left about the Electoral College, conspiracy theories about Russian hacking, and now, condemnation of "fake news", Facebook's proposed solution to put liberal media in charge of filtering out real news hardly seems to be the most reliable course to take.