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Tags: facebook | social | zuckerberg

Facebook's Phony War on Fake News

Facebook's Phony War on Fake News


James Hirsen By Monday, 19 December 2016 10:20 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The left’s attempt to deny the presidential election outcome has turned into a never-ending array of excuses.

A case in point is the recent hand-wringing by Hillary Clinton over fake news where she referred to it as an "epidemic" and a "threat" that should "concern all Americans."

Ironically, the fake news narrative to which Clinton referred is itself a phony one. Evidence is completely lacking when it comes to the notion of voters having been duped into casting non-Hillary votes based on news reports or social media posts.

In fact, in a recent Pew poll about 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were able to recognize fraudulent news posts on their own, and only 33 percent said they had frequently seen such news posts.

Having apparently succumbed to the political pressure being imposed by the left and its media allies, in what appears to be an effort to address the issue of fraudulent posts, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chairman of Facebook, has announced that the social media site will be outsourcing decisions regarding the truth or falsity of posts to fact-checking organizations.

The fact-checking groups with which Facebook is launching the effort are Snopes, PolitiFact, ABC News, Factcheck.org, the Associated Press, Climate Feedback, and The Washington Post Fact Checker, as well as others that may be joining in the future.

Every fact-checker that Facebook employs will be required to sign The Poynter Institute’s Fact Checking Code of Principles.

According to Facebook, when enough users question the veracity of a news post, Facebook will then send the story over to the fact-checkers. If it is determined by the panel to be false, it will be labeled as "disputed" and attached to it will be a link to the fact-checkers’ explanations.

Additionally, Facebook may demote the post in question to a lower position in the news feed and may also disallow any paid promotion of the story.

Zuckerberg asserts that he is not seeking to inhibit the views of Facebook users. "I understand how sensitive this is and I have instructed our team to proceed carefully and focus on fighting spam, not flagging opinions," Zuckerberg stated.

Facebook’s founder added, "This is an early test, and I’m going to keep a close eye on it to make sure we’re fighting actual spam and hoaxes, and not limiting people’s freedom of expression."

However, content interference, under the guise of oversight by a dubious fact-checking organization, is anything but fact-oriented. Rather, it is an insidious part of a more serious problem that continues to plague the once noble profession of journalism.

Facebook users should take no comfort in the fact-checkers' signing of a code of ethics.

Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network, the source of the ethical principles to which the fact checkers are to adhere, is, in part, funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

Moreover, throughout the 2016 presidential election season the mainstream media abandoned, in a most egregious way, longstanding principles of journalistic ethics.

PolitiFact, one of the assigned fact-checkers, is so non-factual that a site, which is aptly named PolitiFact Bias, was established with the sole purpose of publishing PolitiFact’s failings.

PolitiFact’s lack of reliability is exemplified by a 2008 "true" rating for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s promise to the public that "if you like your health-care plan, you can keep it."

In 2009 the site changed its designated "true" rating for the statement to "half-true," and in 2013 it characterized the very same phrase as the "lie of the year."

When 2012 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul said that the federal income tax rate was actually zero until 1913, PolitiFact labeled his statement as "half-true." But when former Democratic senator from Virginia Jim Webb uttered the same remark, his words earned a "mostly-true" rating.

Snopes, as the Daily Caller reported, has a decidedly left-leaning staff. Snopes’ writers have come from extreme alt-left websites including Raw Story and Truth-Out, and many have expressed, via social media sites, their contempt for President-elect Donald Trump as well as members of the Republican Party.

Zuckerberg most likely recalls that in the not so distant past his site was caught censoring conservative-oriented content and news posts on the site’s Trending Topics feature, which forced the social media site to automate the process as opposed to having left-wing editorial staff determine newsworthiness as had been done before.

The Facebook head evidently has allowed his personal ideology to subvert the managerial decisions that are being made concerning the social media site.

Zuckerberg’s fact-checking arrangement is a dangerous one for the site he created and successfully spread across the Internet.

This is primarily because the veiled strategy is an insult to its users, most of whom cherish social media for its unfettered freedom and individual empowerment, which allow users to decide for themselves what is, or is not, worthy of attention.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Content interference, under the guise of oversight by a dubious fact-checking organization, is anything but fact-oriented. It is an insidious part of a more serious problem that continues to plague the once noble profession of journalism.
facebook, social, zuckerberg
Monday, 19 December 2016 10:20 AM
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