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Home News Researchers say Facebook should allow fact-checkers to fact-check politicians

Researchers say Facebook should allow fact-checkers to fact-check politicians

Document Analysis NLP IA

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probably it's an affirmation
Affirmation0.40466101694915

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Summary (IA Generated)

They argue the company should go further by doing away with its exemption of politicians from its Third-Party Fact-Checking program.

Posts from politicians are not eligible for fact-checking.

A help page explaining the company’s policy says, “by limiting political speech, we would leave people less informed about what their elected officials are saying and leave politicians less accountable for their words.

“I think the exemption is effectively pulling the biggest sharpest teeth from the whole point of fact-checking as a means of controlling disinformation and the damage it can cause,” said Alexi Drew, a postdoctoral research associate at King’s College London.

She argued that disinformation does the most damage when its spread by those with perceived legitimacy, adding that one of the greatest sources of legitimacy is a political office.

“If you don’t fact check that you’re ignoring one of the greatest potential risk factors for spreading misinformation that exists on your platform,” Drew said.

Masato Kajimoto, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Hong Kong and founder of the fact-checking organization Annie Lab, echoed Drew’s statements.

“In many Asian countries, politicians are one of the major sources and disseminators of misinformation and disinformation who have a wide reach and influence,” Kajimoto wrote in an email to the IFCN.

He added that this is an argument that political figures’ accounts deserve more scrutiny, and reasoned that fact-checking strikes a balance between the public’s right to hear from their leaders and efforts to combat harmful disinformation.

However, she argued this demonstrates the importance of having independent organizations like fact-checkers involved in checking the veracity of a politician’s posts.

“If those independent organizations check the content of any politician’s tweet or message is false or wrong, then (platforms) should label it as false, and then link to credible sources,” Drew said.

All three researchers acknowledged the complex challenges that companies like Facebook are tasked with when it comes to content moderation, however, Drew and Kajimoto said this complexity calls for independent entities to adjudicate these issues outside the influence of the tech platforms.


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