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Facebook recruits new “fact-checker” after White House demands vaccine skeptic crackdown

A step up in censorship.
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In an effort to fight vaccine skepticism, Facebook has partnered with yet another self-described fact-checking organization. This new partnership comes amid pressure from The White House for social media companies to do more to spread the spread of COVID vaccines misinformation.

According to Axios, Facebook has partnered with Meedan, a global tech non-profit that focuses on health misinformation. Meedan will train Facebook’s over 80 fact-checking partners on how to better handle medical and vaccine skepticism.

The global non-profit has a wing called Digital Health Lab that collects research from experts, the goal being to address health misinformation online. However, Meedan’s major focus is providing health misinformation fact-checking training.

The Axios report adds that Meedan will hold several virtual training sessions, where its team of scientists, doctors, and other health experts will show Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers how to spot and flag health misinformation.

Traditionally, Facebook did not flag anti-vaccination content. However, in February, after the COVID-19 vaccines started rolling out, the company changed its stance and announced that it would start taking tough action against claims of the ineffectiveness or unsafety of all vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines.

Still, some, especially liberals and the Biden administration, feel the company has not been doing enough to curb the spread of vaccine misinformation and falsehoods on its platforms. Last week, President Joe Biden accused the company of “killing people” for its failure to effectively address COVID-19 vaccines disinformation.

The partnership with Meedan also gives Facebook’s fact-checking partners access to its team of health experts whenever they need help with fact-checks related to health.

A few years ago, Facebook started using third-party fact-checkers to police content on its platforms, a move critics say was the company’s way of avoiding being on the hook for controversial content removals. So far, through the Facebook Journalism Project, the company has spent $84 million on fact-checking programs.

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