Connect with us

Technology

Facebook pushes back on claims that outside fact-checking is a PR stunt

Published

on

Facebook says its fact checking is effective.
Facebook says its fact checking is effective.

Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Facebook is pushing back on claims that its work with third-party fact-checkers amounts to little more than “crisis PR.”

That’s how one former employee of Snopes, one of the fact-checking websites that works directly with Facebook to debunk misinformation in News Feed, described her previous work with the company.

In a report published in The Guardian, the former Snopes employee says Facebook “essentially used us for crisis PR,” and that “they are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck.” The same employee alleged that Facebook had, at times, prioritized “debunking misinformation that affected Facebook advertisers” and had failed to take repeated warnings about the situation in Myanmar seriously.

Another unnamed fact-checker who currently works with Facebook said the company spreads the same kind of misinformation it expects fact-checkers to debunk, citing the social network’s role in promoting anti-George Soros narratives.

In a newsroom post, Facebook disputed many of these claims. “Contrary to a claim in the story, we absolutely do not ask fact-checkers to prioritize debunking content about our advertisers,” the company’s head of news integrity partnerships Meredith Carden wrote.  

Facebook has long touted its work with third-party fact-checkers as proof it’s taking the fight against fake news seriously. The company “partners” (or in other words pays) journalists and fact-check organizations around the world to research and debunk all varieties of misinformation that go viral in News Feed. Debunked stories are then down-ranked in News Feed to make them less visible, and repeat offenders may be punished by having all their content made less visible.

The program has been criticized in the past for being understaffed and for the fact that it takes fact-checkers much longer to debunk false stories than it does for them to go viral. But Facebook has repeatedly said it’s gaining ground in the fight against fake news, a claim it reiterated Thursday.

“Fact-checking is highly effective in fighting misinformation,” Carden, wrote. 

Fact-checkers have also taken issue with the lack of data about their work as Facebook doesn’t give them enough information for them to judge whether or not their work is actually effective. Now, Facebook plans to change that, Carden said. 

“We’re starting to send fact-checkers quarterly reports that include customized statistics that reflect the work and impact of each fact-checker.”

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f89989%2fb6cf6b45 3617 4ed4 b0ac 1c09797bd180

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending