Earlier today, we reported that “fact-checker” Snopes had introduced a new “Labeled Satire” rating which it’s now using to fact-check satirical sites such as The Babylon Bee. Now Facebook fact-checker Politifact has started “fact-checking” jokes from comedian Terrence K. Williams.
Politifact decided that these jokes now need fact-checking, days after President Trump retweeted a previous video from Williams where he discussed convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide and how people with information on the Clintons often die of suicide.
Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead
I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this!
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) August 10, 2019
In a recent Twitter video, Williams expressed concerns for his safety and explained that he’d been sent daily death threats ever since President Trump retweeted the video. He then went on to discuss how Facebook is now fact-checking his page through Politifact and provided some examples in the video.
THEY ARE COMING AFTER ME!
After @realDonaldTrump Retweeted me I received threats &
now Facebook is after me.
I’m worried about my safety.
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) August 13, 2019
Williams goes on to highlight the absurdity of fact-checking a comedian’s post by saying:
“I am a comedian. How can you fact-check a joke? I have never in my life heard about somebody fact-checking a joke. What happened to free speech? Please, President Donald Trump, do something about this free speech stuff. They are coming after conservatives and Trump supporters because 2020 is around the corner and they are trying to shut me down.”
He also reiterated concerns over his safety:
“These people are threatening me and Facebook is coming after me, trying to shut down my page, telling people to go to my page to report anything that they feel is fake news. They are trying to shut me down.”
People have started to tweet #ProtectTerrenceKWilliams in response to these threats and it’s now trending on Twitter.
What’s happening to Williams highlights how “fact-checkers” are increasingly being used to censor content by labeling it as “false” or “fake news,” regardless of context.
Facebook has previously threatened to suppress content from groups that share information that is flagged by its “fact-checkers” and it has also started “fact-checking” memes on Instagram.
YouTube also displays “fact-checks” on some of its searches before viewers can see any of the videos in the search results.