Facebook VP Nick Clegg Admits ‘Fact-Checkers’ Could Be Politically Biased

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies via video conference, before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on "Online Platforms and Market Power" in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 29, 2020. (Photo by Graeme JENNINGS / POOL / AFP) …
GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook Vice President and former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently admitted that the company’s “fact-checkers,” which it claims determine the veracity of posts on its platform, could be biased and pursuing their own political agenda.

The Daily Mail reports that Facebook Vice President and former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently admitted that the company’s “fact-checkers” who search for and censor “fake news” on the platform could be biased and pursuing their own political agendas, according to a European Commission document.

Clegg admitted this to EU officials in November during discussions about the tech giant’s handling of misinformation on its platforms. Facebook announced its fact-checking partnerships in 2016 amid claims that its failure to crack down on misinformation led to the election of former President Trump.

Many praised the move from Facebook, but many others were quick to point out what appeared to be examples of bias in the enforcement of the new fact-checking policies. Facebook has been accused of censoring legitimate stories and stifling public debate, notably in recent months the company has been accused of censoring stories relating to the theory that coronavirus could have leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.

For months, Facebook removed or placed warning labels on stories relating to this theory, until last month it reversed this decision entirely when President Joe Biden ordered an inquiry into the claims. Now, minutes of a meeting between Clegg and Vera Jourova, vice-president of the European Commission, appear to show that Clegg is aware that the site’s fact-checkers might be biased.

The minutes of the meeting state: “He [Mr Clegg] also stressed that independent fact-checkers are not necessarily objective because they have their own agenda.” Former UK Cabinet Minister David Jones commented on Clegg’s statement, saying that it was “deeply worrying.”

Jones added: “The admission completely destroys the credibility of Facebook’s own procedures. It offers news organizations no right of appeal when it censors them, even though it may have acted on the advice of fact-checkers who are motivated by ‘their own agenda’.”

Facebook commented on the situation, saying in a statement: “‘Nick never suggested there is bias in our fact-checking programme. He did describe that one benefit of having a range of independent fact-checking partners is the variety of specialisms in different countries and issue areas that they bring.”

Read more at the Daily Mail here.

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 lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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