Medical journal blames Facebook for using bogus ‘fact checks’ to censor
The editors of a peer-reviewed medical journal wrote a scathing letter demanding that Facebook reassess its bogus third-party “fact-checking” processes after the journal was censored for posting information about the trials of COVID-19 vaccines.
BMJ Editors-in-Chief Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi addressed the letter to Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with the intention of raising “serious concerns” about the third-party “fact-checking” system from Facebook.
According to the editors, one of the well-researched BMJ articles published on “a host of poor clinical trial research practices occurring at Ventavia, “one of the companies facilitating trials for Pfizer’s version of the COVID-19 vaccine, has been removed by Facebook and censored with labels that directed readers towards a “fact check” by the obscure Lead Stories website, which regularly publishes bogus fact checks.
“Those who tried to publish the article were told by Facebook that people who repeatedly shared ‘fake news‘ could have their posts moved further down the Facebook feed. Admins at the group where the article was shared received messages from Facebook advising them that the messages were “partly false,” “Godlee and Abbasi wrote.
The editors said that this “fact check”, used by Facebook to justify threats against users who shared the BMJ article, was, however, “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.”
Not only did Godlee and Abbasi say that Lead Stories made an effort to sidestep any direct accusations of wrongdoing or falsehood in the BMJ article, but he also falsely referred to the longtime medical journal as a ‘blog of’. news ”. Like most of Lead Stories’ other “fact checks”, the web page linked to the “missing context” warning on Facebook has a bold headline purporting to discredit the BMJ’s findings.
“Fact Check: The British Medical Journal has NOT uncovered disqualifying and ignored reports of defects in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials,” the headline reads.
As BMJ editors note, Lead Stories refused to make any changes to their bogus fact-checking and instead issued an unapologetic counter statement to their letter. Lead Stories complained that BMJ would not have allowed “fact checkers” to “see the basis of the story and did not make the documents available on a transparency site” and attempted to justify the censorship label.
Godlee and Abbasi concluded their letter by demanding that Facebook, if it continues its censorship campaign against so-called “disinformation,” choose wiser and more competent fact-checking organizations, such as Cochrane, which regularly reviews medical evidence.
“Rather than investing a portion of Meta’s substantial profits in ensuring the accuracy of medical information shared through social media, you have apparently delegated responsibility to incompetent people to carry out this crucial task. Fact checking has been a staple of good journalism for decades. What happened in this case should be of concern to anyone who appreciates and relies on sources such as the BMJ, ”the letter said.
The Federalist, like BMJ, has been the target of false fact-checks and censorship on Facebook through third-party organizations such as Lead Stories. As recently as last week, Facebook reported a Federalist article, titled “Forcing People Into COVID Vaccines Ignores Important Scientific Information” with a “context missing” tag and linked to a Lead Stories article dissecting an article from a publication from the United Kingdom.
The purported fact-check, written by a former CNN employee for the obscure third-party company with ties to the fragmentary Chinese company ByteDance, however, does not actually address The Federalist article or any of the claims therein. are formulated. Instead, the ‘fact-checking’ tries to downplay the fact that data on UK COVID cases shows that vaccinated people are increasingly contracting COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Politifact, another left-wing organization employed by Facebook to fight “disinformation,” targeted a federalist article focusing on green energy’s inability to cope during the winter storm in Texas. The fact check claimed that “natural gas power plants were the main cause of the electricity shortage, not the wind.” The author, however, acknowledged that “the wind farms were operating at about half of what was expected,” which contributed to the widespread blackouts, a point similar to that made in the article by federalist contributor Jason Isaac and the Wall Street Journal.
The same week, Lead Stories also added a “fake news” tag to the article. The fact-checking did not directly address the argument from The Federalist’s article, but simply focused on criticizing a Facebook post earlier in the week from a user who noted the failures. of the green energy sector during the Texas electricity crisis.
When The Federalist confronted Politifact for its selective “fact-checking” and failure to expose Vice President Kamala Harris’s lies with an article, the organization’s editor, Angie Holan, called for corrections even if there was no inaccuracy in The Federalist article. .
Earlier this month, Facebook admitted that its so-called “fact-checking” program actually expressed opinions that were used to censor certain views. In a legal battle with television reporter John Stossel over an article about the origins of the deadly 2020 California wildfires, Facebook, or “Meta,” claimed its “fact-checking” program should not be the target of a libel lawsuit because its attempts to regulate content are carried out by third party organizations who are entitled to their “opinion”.
Jordan Boyd is writer for The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan is a graduate of Baylor University where she majored in political science with a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.