Liberals are in an uproar over Mark Zuckerberg’s latest partnership, although it is in response to one of their greatest complaints over the past few years. It was liberals who started the outcry about unscrupulous social media news headlines. Now that Facebook is taking steps to shore up the problem, liberals have a problem with that as well!
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The story is this: the conservative Weekly Standard will begin aiding Facebook fact-checking efforts. Liberals have long accused Facebook of playing to the right instead of playing politics up the middle “as it should.”
There’s a really special display of hypocrisy on display here, considering that Facebook’s news curating team has historically been overwhelmingly favorable to left-leaning outlets.
Liberals are pointing to the history of the Weekly Standard publishing decidedly right-wing material. They say that this history disqualifies the Standard from exercising its journalistic expertise in a journalistic exercise, which is completely absurd. Writing opinion articles and fact-checking are two separate and distinct operations. One does not overlap with the other, and although liberal media outlets may not be able to separate projects, the Standard has never had this problem.
Perhaps Facebook chose the Standrad because mainstream liberal outlets were having virtually no effect when they are tapped to start flagging “fake news.” As a matter of fact, it was Facebook specifically that employed AP reporters, ABC News, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes to begin this project. It was a complete failure. Unscrupulous news outlets still proliferated false content on social media, focusing on false reports of the new President Trump having under the table dealings with Russia.
Liberals may also be unaware of the disinterested third party that Facebook employs to fact check its fact checking disinterested third party. The IFCN (Internation Fact Checking Network) is a completely non-partisan group that verifies the fact-checkers at Facebook, including the Weekly Standard. It was actually the IFCN that approved the Standard to be Facebook’s fact checking partner, not Facebook itself. This only happened when the Standard agreed to the code of principles set out by the IFCN.
Let’s take a look at what this code of principles includes so that we can see just how partisan the Standard is allowed to be when fact-checking Facebook.
At Poynter.com, the first line item spells out a “commitment to nonpartisanship.” Every fact check is performed using the exact same standards, and all fact checks are based on hard evidence, not political opinion.
Secondly, IFCN spells out its commitment to transparency of sources. For every fact that the Standard checks, readers of that article will be able to easily verify sources. The exact working is to have sources so detailed that article readers “can replicate our work.”
IFCN is also transparent about its sources of funding. Even if the organization is funded by an outside organization, that organization agrees to have no influence over the fact-checking process. Readers are privy to all information about donors as well as the key figures within the organization.
The IFCN holds a commitment to a transparent methodology. Not only will readers be able to duplicate the article itself, but they will also be able to duplicate the research process behind each fact checking effort. The IFCN also encourages its readers to write in claims on any facts that seem wary.
Finally, the IFCN details its policy about corrections. If and when a mistake is made, corrections are published as quickly as possible. Liberals are sure to jump on the first mistake that the Standard makes. As conservatives, we should realize that humans will make mistakes at some point or another. Ignore the nonsense and move on.
At what point does the IFCN allow the Standard to run amok with partisan opinions all over Facebook? If liberals actually took the time to understand the system behind the Facebook/Standard partnership, they would have much less to yell about. However, this is probably why they do not publicize the reality of the partnership – their entire job is to yell, not to report the truth.
~ Liberty Planet