When Twitter decided to fact-check President Trump for the first time, it became the first social media platform to delve into the murky waters of fact-checking disputed claims from politicians.
While Facebook has so far refused to fact-check politicians that already have a Page on the platform, it does still block some political candidates from having official campaign pages on its platform.
But when asked about Twitter’s decision to fact-check the President by Fox News anchor Dana Perino, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ironically echoed the sentiments of those who criticize Facebook’s censorship:
“I just believe strongly that, that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be, or especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of, of doing that.”
One possible explanation for Zuckerberg’s surprising admission is that Facebook’s fact-checks are performed by third-parties so Zuckerberg can distance himself from this and say Facebook isn’t deciding which posts to censor.
Facebook also recently announced the first members of its “independent” Oversight Board which gets to make the final decision on whether “controversial” content stays on the platform.
This Oversight Board is presented as independent – so again, Facebook isn’t technically making the final call when posts get taken down.
But despite the semantics, both the fact-checking program and Oversight Board have raised censorship and bias concerns through the past statements of their members and their controversial fact-checking decisions.
And even if third-parties are making the decisions about what to censor, Facebook is still allowing its 2 billion+ users to have their content censored and suppressed in response to their decisions.