Just in case anything slips through the existing “fact-checking,” narrative-enforcing cracks of Facebook’s censorship, a new “feature” is now being introduced as a pilot.
Through it, Facebook is letting a small group of US “fact-checkers” leave comments on public posts, which “may not be verifiably false, but that people may find misleading.”
This has been revealed in the tech and social media behemoth’s Community Standards Enforcement Report for the second quarter of this year. One of Facebook’s (Meta’s) activities covered in the report concerns its third-party fact-checker – aka, the “hired censorship guns” program.
At the very end of the report, Facebook briefly mentions the exceedingly interesting new pilot program. While critics will no doubt see it as yet another avenue for the giant to steer users in a particular direction, it is presented as quite the opposite: allegedly to “empower” users as they come across content and are deciding “what to read, share, and trust.”
“A small group of our US third-party fact-checking partners has the ability to comment in English and Spanish to provide more information on public Facebook posts that they determine could benefit from more context,” the report reads.
Does this mean what it looks like it means – that Facebook is using fact-checkers to appear more like real users commenting, influencing actual real users – rather than reviled enforcers slapping labels on posts that often result in deranking and outright censorship?
It’s hard to tell from the little space Facebook’s report dedicates to the project. We do know that it is separate from the “fact-checking” program that results in penalties for users.
If a “fact-checker” from the select group leaves a comment on your post, it will not represent a fact-check rating, directly result in negative consequences, or downrank content, Facebook promises.
Elsewhere in the report, Facebook reveals that in the Q2 of 2022, “fact-checker” warnings have been put on more than 200 million posts, including re-shares.
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