Con­ser­va­tives skep­ti­cal of move by Facebook against ‘fake news’

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Dou­glas Ernst

Facebook an­nounced Thurs­day that it is ready to “roll out” a process by which al­leged “fake news” is iden­ti­fied and flagged for users.

Con­cern for so-called “fake news,” which has per­me­ated the me­dia land­scape since Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s Elec­tion Day loss to Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, will now be met by Facebook in a ma­jor way.

The so­cial me­dia gi­ant’s news­room an­nounced that it will part­ner with third-party or­ga­ni­za­tions to iden­tify hoaxes and un­re­li­able sto­ries.

“We be­lieve pro­vid­ing more con­text can help peo­ple de­cide for them­selves what to trust and what to share,” the com­pany said.

Ac­cord­ing to Facebook, “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.”

Still, CEO Mark Zucker­berg’s com­pany said its work­force and part­ners “can­not be­come ar­biters of truth” while essen­tially des­ig­nat­ing them as such. One of the or­ga­ni­za­tions Facebook plans on team­ing up with is Snopes, which bills it­self as an “es­sen­tial re­source” for truth.

Oth­ers groups the so­cial me­dia plat­form will work with in­clude ABC News, Fac­tCheck.org, Poli­ti­Fact, and The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tors were quick to put forth a “who watches the watch­men” coun­ter­ar­gu­ment.

“Some­times the ex­perts are also par­ti­sans who have an agenda. That was cer­tainly the case with re­gard to Obamacare,” wrote Ho­tair’s John Sex­ton on Thurs­day.

The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hem­ing­way con­curred.

“Two univer­sity stud­ies show Poli­ti­Fact rates the GOP as liars over Democrats at a rate of 3 to 1 and 2 to 1 re­spec­tively. […] I once asked the head of Poli­ti­Fact to ex­plain a univer­sity study suggest­ing they were bi­ased,” Mr. Hem­ing­way said in a se­ries of tweets. “He no joke told me that based on what peo­ple tell him at par­ties he thinks he’s fair. I could go on … but the idea of Poli­ti­Fact cen­sor­ing po­lit­i­cal speech at any ma­jor so­cial me­dia net­work is hor­ri­fy­ing.”

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