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article imageSnopes drops fact checking arrangement with Facebook

By Tim Sandle     Feb 2, 2019 in Internet
Snopes, one of the first fact checking websites, is to no longer debunk misinformation in partnership with Facebook. The firm confirmed that its contract with Facebook ended in December 2018 and it has not been renewed.
Snopes had a long-standing partnership with Facebook to decrease the reach of false stories, images and videos in the Facebook News Feed. The ending of the arrangement has been revealed in a statement: "After contributing to that effort for two years, we want to inform our readership that has elected not to renew our partnership with Facebook."
The reason given by CEO David Mikkelson and Vinny Green, vice president of operations, according to Poynter, is due to bandwidth and the vast amount of time and effort required to assess what is posted on Facebook. Here Green stated: "With a manual system and a closed system — it’s impossible to keep on top of that stuff. Do you need fact-checkers to stop and do all this manual work? Or should fake websites just be reported through other means and supply a body of evidence that these people shouldn’t be on your platform because of their nefarious activity?"
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As well as Snopes, Associated Press have also stopped a fact checking arrangement with Facebook, according to the BBC. While Associated Press have not given a reason, The Guardian has published a report that suggests fact-checking firms are frustrated by Facebook’s lack of transparency. Here Brooke Binkowski, former managing editor of Snopes said: "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."
Facebook did dispute The Guardian's claims by issuing a statement, where the company sought to clarify its position to publishing factual information: "We have been committed to fighting misinformation for years now and have strong relationships with our third-party fact-checking partners..."
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There may be other reasons behind Snopes' decision to pull out, according to The Verge. It is reported that the Facebook program has reportedly been a contentious issue on Snopes’ Slack channel for several months. What ever the reasons, Facebook has lost key companies introduced to check facts - ABC News, The Associated Press,, and PolitiFact - in a short space of time, and this will leave the social media giant short, for a while at least, in its attempt to show the world that it takes facts and fake news seriously.
More about snopes, Facebook, Facts, fake news, Media bias
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