Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Facebook's Fake Fact-Checkers Bust The Babylon Bee

One of our favorite satire sites, The Babylon Bee, recently ran a humorous story entitled "CNN purchases industrial-sized washing machine to spin news before publication." Hours later, Adam Ford, the Bee's founder, received a notice from Facebook warning that his story had been flagged as false content by its "independent fact-checker" Snopes. Furthermore, the social media giant threatened, "Repeat offenders will see their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertised removed."

To say the least, Ford was surprised — not over being "fact-checked," as this was not the first time that Snopes has "fact-checked" The Babylon Bee, but rather by the action taken by Facebook. Ford stated, "This is the first time Facebook has used that to threaten us with reduced reach and demonetization." He added, "Also it seems that anyone who clicked on the article got a notice that it was 'disputed.'"

Hours later, after suffering a fully deserved barrage of blowback and mockery, Facebook later admitted its action was a mistake: "There's a difference between false news and satire. This was a mistake and should not have been rated false in our system. It's since been corrected and won't count against the domain in any way."


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