Facebook Unleashes ‘Fact-Checkers’ on Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook
Associated Press

Social media giant Facebook will soon give the site’s third-party fact-checkers access to Instagram to flag allegedly misleading posts and photos on the app.

The Verge reports that Facebook will soon give its fact-checking partners at Factcheck.org and the Associated Press access to review content across Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram. Facebook’s fact-checking partners already flag content across Facebook’s main platform, now the social media site is expanding their reach to other apps also owned by Facebook. If a post is flagged as false by fact-checkers on Instagram, hat content will see its reach across the platform limited, as is the case with Facebook.

Flagged posts will no longer appear in the Instagram Explore tab or within hashtag searches but will still appear in users’ newsfeeds if they follow the account that posted the flagged content. Facebook is also testing additional features such as pop-ups which appear when searching for certain topics such as anti-vaccination content.

Facebook’s fact-checking partnerships now include 52 organizations over 33 countries, all of which monitor and police content across the platform. Critics are now questioning if this approach is right for Instagram, but others are in favor of the move. Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, commented on the new plans stating: “Instagram is a place where a lot of people, particularly young people, get their news. And we know it’s a space where misinformation can live. So it only makes sense that Facebook would expand its work with fact-checkers into this new space. It’s definitely a good step.”

But Facebook’s fact-checking partners may not be as happy overall as some may believe, a report from the Guardian from December 2018 claimed that the program was in “disarray.” From Breitbart News’ article on the situation:

“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” expressed former Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski to the Guardian. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care.”

“You’re not doing journalism anymore. You’re doing propaganda,” she continued, adding, “They threw us under the bus at every opportunity.”

Another former Snopes employee, Kim LaCapria, recently left the company over its partnership with Facebook, accusing it of focusing only on the “appearance of trying to prevent damage without actually doing anything,” and expressing distaste with the fact that Snopes was being paid by Facebook.

“Why should we trust Facebook when it’s pushing the same rumors that its own fact checkers are calling fake news?” added an unnamed Facebook fact-checker. “It’s worth asking how do they treat stories about George Soros on the platform knowing they specifically pay people to try to link political enemies to him?[…] Working with Facebook makes us look bad.”

One fact-checker who has reportedly “long worked” with Facebook even referred to the social network as a “terrible company,” declaring, “and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” while another fact-checker proclaimed, “Most of us feel it’s more trouble than it’s worth.”

In February 2019, Snopes left Facebook’s fact-checking partnership while ABC News left the program last year.

Breitbart News will continue to report on Facebook’s continued attempts to censor content on its platform.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com


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