‘Dangerous:’ Even Liberal Poynter Slams Platforms’ Censorship of Biden Story

October 15th, 2020 11:27 AM

Facebook and Twitter decided yesterday to censor, suppress and ban content related to the New York Post’s bombshell story about Hunter Biden’s emails. But even the liberal fact-checking partner to Facebook, Poynter, criticized the decision to override its typical procedures.

The International Fact-Checking Network’s Associate Director Cristina Tardáguila wrote for the Poynter Institute, “Less than a month from Election Day, both companies finally became arbiters of the truth on the internet. Naive are those who believe this isn’t dangerous.”

At least Facebook actually has fact-checkers. PolitiFact’s editor-in-chief Angie Holan tweeted that she didn’t know who Twitter’s “partners” were and asked, “Has Twitter partnered with fact-checkers without telling anyone? It would be news to me.”

Facebook Director of Communications Andy Stone tweeted that Facebook would be suppressing the New York Post story, saying, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.” 

He later clarified: “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review.” However, according to Tardáguila, Facebook fact-checkers themselves were not aware of this policy. She said, “The fact-checking community, however, wasn’t aware of it until today – which is a bit strange, considering they work together to tackle misinformation.”

Nevertheless, when it came to fact-checking the Biden piece, even the IFCN blanched at Facebook’s decision to suppress it. “The decision to reduce or prevent the distribution of @nypost 's article based on some mysterious, non-transparent criteria and an unknown methodology is a serious mistake,” the organization tweeted.

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is a liberal fact-checking project started by the Poynter Institute and funded in part by liberal billionaire George Soros. Poynter Institute had also tried to get 29 conservative websites blacklisted by advertisers for publishing “UnNews.”  Facebook had announced a partnership with independent third-party fact-checkers that were members of the IFCN, as well as the IFCN itself. The platform outlined a process for these fact-checkers to follow.

The fact-checking process itself is arbitrary and causes the right to be censored more than the left on Facebook. The program has 10 U.S.-based fact-checkers. With the exception of Check Your Fact, eight of these organizations defend the left, and one is a NeverTrump publication. The process, as outlined in the Facebook Journalism Project, is to “Identify,” “Review,” and “Act.” The piece states what Facebook does to suppress information once it is fact-checked: “Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation by surfacing fact-check articles to users across our platforms and showing labels on top of false stories.”

Multiple center-right and pro-life outlets, including Live Action, the New York Post, and Fox News have been fact-checked and have had content suppressed. Three strikes, and these pages might be “limited,” as Live Action once found out. When two abortionists were consulted for a fact-check from Healthfeedback.org, Live Action’s post stating “Abortion is never medically necessary” was suppressed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later admitted that there had been some “bias” against Live Action.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 as well as  Twitter: (415) 222-9670 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.