In the aftermath of the left’s hysterical reliance on the notion that “fake news” tilted the election to Donald Trump, Facebook has decided to crack down on “fake news.” Now, let’s stipulate from the outset that some stories that are factually false have circulated widely, and that these are “fake news.” But that’s not how the left defines “fake news.” Media Matters, for example, has released this chart:
They call satire “fake news” – even though it’s satire, which would mean that all of Comedy Central could be derided thusly. They include “clickbait” when it contains “fabrications,” although they don’t define fabrications. They include “misleading or out-of-context information” if that information serves “as support for fabrications” – but this could easily include a political angle the Media Matters left simply doesn’t approve.
How does Facebook intend on stopping “fake news”? How narrowly are they defining it?
According to BuzzFeed, Facebook will now be relying on organizations “that have signed on to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles to enable them to verify selected links being shared on Facebook and have those fact checks attached to the original links.” Here’s what happens: these special organizations will have access to a list of articles Facebook administrators have questioned – and they can question the links based on user reports, virality of the link, or comments saying the story is false. The ratings organizations can then affix a red exclamation point to the story with the caption “Disputed by 3rd Party Fact-Checkers.”
Once a story has been flagged, it can’t be promoted with an ad, and it will be listed lower on Facebook’s feeds.
Facebook pledges that the fact-checking organizations won’t skew left, but fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact routinely skew their analyses in favor of the left, fact-checking the “implications” of claims or disputing poll data in favor of poll data they like better without debunking the original poll data, for example; Politifact twice rated President Obama’s lies about keeping your health-care plan “half-true” before labeling it their “lie of the year.” In fact, only five organizations in the United States qualify for Facebook’s fact-checking status: Politifact, FactCheck.org, Snopes, The Washington Post, and ABC News. All skew to the left politically.
This is a disaster for news coverage. It’s an attempt to restore gatekeepers who have a bias as the ultimate arbiters of truth. If these organizations begin questioning articles and penalizing outlets for simple political disagreements rather than outright factual falsities, conservatives will have to go elsewhere for their news.