‘Fake News’ Fact-Checkers Are Done With Facebook

February 5th, 2019 12:14 PM

Facebook once decided that partnering with a liberal fact-checker would help stop the spread of supposed “fake news.”

On February 1, fact-checking site Snopes announced that it was no longer interested in working with Facebook and was pulling out of its partnership with the social media company. In the blog post published on Snopes, the fact-checker cited irreconcilable differences, saying, “we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff.”

In December of 2016, Facebook’s VP Adam Mosseri announced that in order to combat the spread of “fake news and hoaxes,” it was partnering with Snopes and the Associated Press to have them fact check stories on the platform. It also partnered with Politifact, FactCheck.org, and the now defunct Weekly Standard.

Together, Snopes and Facebook made several mistakes. The fact-checking organization marked a satire story from the Christian humor site the Babylon Bee as “fake news.” The headline apparently was too believable: “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication.”

In the blog post explaining why the satire story was “False,” Snopes sneered, “the site has been responsible for a number of other (usually religious-themed) spoofs that have been mistaken for real news articles.”

Snopes has expressed irritation with Facebook, however, for the platform’s “lack of transparency.” The site is apparently still open to working with Facebook, just not as a partner. The Associated Press announced the same sentiment. Both sites were receiving ample compensation for their partnerships.

Politifact and FactCheck.org still work with Facebook. No conservative successor to the Weekly Standard has been announced, however.