Conservatives react with swift alarm to Facebook's announcement on combatting fake news
The social-media giant said Thursday it would draw on an international fact-checking network led by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism, to label and bury "fake news" in the news feed. Such outlets included Snopes, ABC News, and the Associated Press.
But the announcement was immediately met with fire from the right."Fact-checkers all seem to be from the left," tweeted Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist. "Not good for conservatives."
Other conservatives quickly agreed, hammering Facebook for the move.
"This is a disaster for news coverage," wrote Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative and editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire. "It's an attempt to restore gatekeepers who have a bias as the ultimate arbiters of truth."
RBPundit, an influential anonymous conservative blogger, published a series of tweets expressing strong concern.
"It's going to be leftists reporting stories they don't like and leftists 'fact-checking' these stories," RBPundit wrote . "It's a fraud."
The blogger continued:
If news sites would put some effort into not being biased, there'd be very little demand for alternate sources of news.- RBe (@RBPundit) December 15, 2016
Do they not get it? Fake News cropped up in response to people feeling like the media AND the fact-checkers weren't being fair.- RBe (@RBPundit) December 15, 2016
The sentiment seemed to be nearly universal across the conservative spectrum.
Charles Cooke, editor of National Review Online, the premier conservative news outlet for decades, told Business Insider in an email that he "agreed with everything" RBPundit said.
Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, reacted with three blunt words when he saw Facebook's announcement: "OH HELL NO."
"Facebook is bringing in Poynter/PolitiFact to police 'fake news'? They're INCREDIBLY biased," he wrote.
Alex Griswold, a media reporter for Mediaite, piled on : "Snopes is great ... 90% of the time."
This was not the first time Facebook received criticism from conservatives over its handling of news that appears on its website.Earlier this year, after Gizmodo reported members of Facebook's Trending News team were biased against right-leaning news sources - a report Facebook disputed - the social-media company invited top conservatives to its California headquarters for a meeting with CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The subject of "fake news" has been discussed in the media since President-elect Donald Trump's surprise victory over Hillary Clinton. Some observers have suggested the prevalence of misleading or outright fake stories could have swayed some individuals to vote for the Republican real-estate mogul.