12-13-2018 | News
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Factchecking Journalists Slam Facebook For Just “Using Them” for PR Purposes
When Facebook first sought the help and expertise of journalists to fact-check content on their popular platform and combat misinformation after the 2016 elections, expectations ran high, and many were pleased with the team up for a great mission. Fast forward to two years, and many are left disappointed, chief of them are the journalists who participated in the project themselves. They feel that their efforts went for naught and Facebook only “used them” for PR purposes.
Some journalists have pushed to end the said controversial fact-checking partnership with Facebook. Journalists who worked on the project and those that are still in it complain that the supposed collaboration with Facebook produced only minimal results and that they’ve lost trust in Facebook.
The journalists are also dismayed that the popular social media platform has refused to release meaningful data related to the impacts of their work. Then there’s the big deal-breaker: Facebook’s hiring of a PR firm to discredit its critics, a ploy the journalists feel is fueling the same kind of propaganda fact-checkers regularly debunk.
Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes, a fact-checking site that has partnered with Facebook for two years, lamented: “They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR. They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care.”
One journalist working with Facebook as a fact-checker was not authorized to speak but shared with The Guardian, on condition of anonymity, some pressing concerns. The journalist said: “Why should we trust Facebook when it’s pushing the same rumors that its own fact-checkers are calling fake news?”
The journalist specifically brought up the George Soros issue and speculations that he is funding liberal causes and global events.
Another journalist added: “Working with Facebook makes us look bad.” And another fact-checker also complained: “They are a terrible company and, on a personal level, I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”
In response to all the complaints, Facebook said in a statement that it had “heard feedback from our partners that they’d like more data on the impact of their efforts.” The tech giant also said that they have started sending “quarterly reports” with “customized statistics” to partners and would be “looking for more statistics to share externally in early 2019.” The platform refused to share the said reports with other media outfits- at least for now.
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