Facebook Said My Article Was ‘False Information.’ Now the Fact-Checkers Admit They Were Wrong.

A Facebook notification came to my attention on Monday. A friend of mine alerted me to the fact that her attempt to share a recent article she had written blurred the image and replaced it by the warning that the link contained false information that was verified independently.

This was the article at issue: “The Study that Convinced CDC to Support Mask Mandates In Schools Is Junk Science.” The following is the Reason RoundupDaily newsletter (subscribe now!It contained other information, but Facebook stated that they were unable to approve of the section about schools wearing masks. A warning message was displayed when I tried to share this article via Facebook. Science Feedback, an official Facebook fact checking organization, redirected me to an article that stated “masking could help reduce transmission of SARS CoV-2 to schools”. It also claimed that it wasn’t true to state that children wear masks.

This claim was not mine, so it was strange that it had been fact-checked. Science Feedback was the one who provided false information. They had created the impression that I wrote something different.

This article came from a recently published piece. AtlanticDavid Zweig. These claims are not unique. I had summarized the original, impressive research done by Zweig, which showed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had used a flawed study in order to conclude that school mask mandates were effective.

“Masks might help to prevent COVID spreading, [some experts]Zweig stated that Zweig was correct. “But the data being touted by the CDC—which showed a dramatic more-than-tripling of risk for unmasked students—ought to be excluded from this debate.”

According to Zweig, the study in question—which was conducted in Arizona—had all sorts of problems. Researchers didn’t verify whether the data collection included schools that were actually open at the given time. Important factors, such as differing vaccination rates, weren’t considered. Also they failed to count outbreaks and not cases. The study’s subsequent finding—that schools without mask mandates had far worse COVID-19 outcomes than schools with mask mandates—should not have been so readily believed by the nation’s top pandemic policy makers.

That’s it. Both Zweig’s and mine do not claim that masks are harmful to children or prevent transmission from schools. Each of them focused on a single study dealing with masks. Mandates.

Interestingly, Zweig’s article was not given the “false info” label. It was not warned me when I tried to share the article on Facebook. My There are reasons The social media site article however generated this disclaimer: “Pages/websites that share or publish repeatedly false information will see their overall distribution reduce and be limited in other ways.”

Facebook relies upon more than 80 organizations for fact-checking. These individuals were appointed by Facebook for these functions. They do not have the ability to remove any content. However, after they’ve reviewed the post and determined it to be false, they can deprioritize it on the site so that it is less visible in users’ feeds. These fact-checkers are given a great deal of power. These fact-checkers are also responsible for handling appeals.

There can be controversy over their decisions. John Stossel is the host of Stossel TV, and also contributes to Stossel TV. Reason, He accused Facebook fact checkers of “stifling public debate”. Stossel has also landed himself on the wrong side of “false information” labels: Climate Feedback, a subgroup within Science Feedback, labeled two of his climate change–related videos as “misleading” and “partly false.” Stossel’s situation is similar to mine in that the fact-checker attributed to him a claim—”forest fires are caused by poor management, not by climate change,” in this case—that his video never actually made.

Stossel went on to explain that he had argued that California’s mismanagement caused the wildfires. He also acknowledged that climate change was a factor in his video.

Stossel eventually succeeded in getting two Climate Feedback editors to admit that they • not watched his video—and after they had They watched the video and agreed that it wasn’t misleading. They also noted that climate change has contributed to forest fires through government mismanagement. Stossel claims that Climate Feedback has not corrected their misinformation.

I’ve had better luck. Both Science Feedback and Facebook were contacted by me to provide clarifications and corrective measures. Science Feedback said on Tuesday that my article had been flagged incorrectly and they would remove that label.

The authors wrote that they had taken a second look at Reason and found out that the article was not rated correctly. “The flag is now removed. We regret this error.

I asked for more details and was sent this email by Ayobami Olugbemiga at Facebook, who is a policy communication manager.

He wrote, “Thanks for reaching back and appealing directly at Science Feedback.” As you are aware, Science Feedback’s fact-checking partner independently reviews and rates the content of our apps. They then process your appeal.

Stossel is currently sueing Facebook, Science Feedback and Climate Feedback. He acknowledged that private companies have the right to remove, deprioritize, and ban content. Different organizations and individuals can also disagree on basic facts, such as the science behind climate change. However, he claims the fact-checkers have defamed him by attributing to them a direct quote that he has never used.

“This case poses a simple question. Do Facebook and its vendor defame someone who posts factually accurate information, when they publically announce that the content fails a fact-check’ or is ‘partly fake’, and by attributing to that user a false claim that was never made?” Stossel’s attorneys wrote this in the lawsuit. The answer is, naturally, yes.”

This complicated matter is because defamation suits aimed at speech by other users on social media platforms are usually not allowed under Section 230, a federal statute. The statute doesn’t treat every speech on Facebook as Facebook speech. One person can sue another for libel but generally they can’t sue Facebook. There is an exception, of course, for the company’s own speech—it would be possible to sue Facebook over a press release, or online statement made by an employee. Facebook claimed its third-party fact checkers were independent and distinct. However, the company acknowledged it pays them.

There are many Republicans And Democrats who want to scrap Section 230 entirely: President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) All three have criticized the protections granted to Big Tech companies by Section 230. The problem with excessive content moderation and fact-checking would not be solved by removing Section 230. It could actually make matters worse. Facebook will be less likely to tolerate more liability.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the status quo isn’t satisfying. While it is good that the fact checker reversed the course of my case, Facebook must reconsider its formal contractual relationship to an organization that frequently misquotes those whom it monitors.