Social media giant Facebook has announced that it will now be “reducing the distribution” of individual accounts that share misinformation across its platform, even as the Masters of the Universe and their army of “fact-checkers” struggle with the definition of misinformation on topics such as the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Verge reports that in yet another attempt to crack down on misinformation on the platform, Facebook has announced that it will not only make posts containing misinformation less visible but will actually limit the visibility of individuals users who share them. Making a user less visible to others based on their posts is very similar to shadowbanning.
Facebook has previously employed a number of other methods to crack down on misinformation, including working with “fact checkers” and employing moderators. Now the company plans to bury the accounts of users that share posts that it considers misleading.
“Starting today, we will reduce the distribution of all posts in News Feed from an individual’s Facebook account if they repeatedly share content that has been rated by one of our fact-checking partners,” the company wrote in a press release.
Posts the company believes are misleading are already downranked in Facebook’s News Feed, but now it appears that the company will be taking action against users who share alleged “misinformation.” Of course, this could mean that users that unwittingly share posts containing misinformation could unknowingly have their accounts buried on the platform.
Adding to this, Facebook’s definition of what counts as “misinformation,” is shifting — only last night stating that it will no longer be removing claims addressing the possible origins of the coronavirus after President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origin of the virus, despite ending a State Department investigation under President Donald Trump seeking the same information.
Breitbart News reporter Simon Kent wrote in a recent article:
Facebook released a memo detailing its new stance, pointing to “ongoing investigations” as reason for its change of heart while adding the proviso other restrictions remain.
A spokesman for the company said:
In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made from our apps.
We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge.
Facebook announced last December it would remove what it decides are false claims about coronavirus vaccines including posts debunked by Facebook’s chosen health experts.
In October, Google-owned YouTube made a similar promise. The decision expanded Facebook’s current rules relating to theories related to the coronavirus pandemic, its origins and the vaccination programs underway world wide.
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Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org