In a potentially influential case, conservative commentator Candace Owens is suing Facebook fact-checkers for defamation over their flagging of her posts as inaccurate. For other conservatives in the social media space, this could be an opportunity to “fact-check the fact-checkers” and potentially establish more equilibrium on social media platforms.
Recently, social media companies have been using their authority and control over various platforms to silence certain voices, mostly conservatives, under the auspices of what it calls “fact-checking.” The problem is that the fact-checking is extremely biased and usually only happens to conservatives and is used to lessen their reach.
Candace Owens is now suing Facebook’s fact-checkers in order to try and expose who is actually doing the fact-checking.
“It is time to fact-check the fact-checkers,” Owen said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m going to put these suckers through discovery and figure out what the relationship is they have with Facebook.”
Owens has been the subject of these fact-checks a handful of times, including one where a physician gave his perspective about COVID. But Facebook, which is a social media business and not a health care company, disagreed.
“Quite literally a doctor gave his opinion about COVID-19, which I shared, and Facebook issued a strike on my account because they said only information that they agree with about COVID-19 … was acceptable,” she said.
The fact-checking system was first instituted in 2016 and is supposedly run by a third-party. It was designed to suppress misinformation but has seemingly become a weapon used by liberals to target speech that they disagree with.
“Our freedoms are being stripped away,” Owens has posted. “The overlords of Big Tech are determining what Americans can and cannot say, share, like, and post. Support our legal efforts today as we fight back against Facebook’s fact-checkers, confronting those who are suppressing free speech, thought, and expression across our great country.”
This concerted effort to censor and ultimately silence conservatives has already been the focus of a handful of Senate hearings.
In the latest hearing, held on Monday, Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, questioned why and to what end social media companies share information, claiming that this system is used to target conservative speech.
“As I understand it, Facebook censorship teams communicate with their counterparts at Twitter and Google and then enter those companies’ suggestions for censorship onto the Tasks platform so that Facebook can then follow up with them and effectively coordinate their censorship efforts,” Hawley said.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, agreed that communication does happen, but denies that it results in censorship.
As Fox News explains, “The fact-checkers apply ratings to content that range from ‘false,’ ‘altered’ and ‘missing context.’ When such ratings are applied, Facebook may either reduce its distribution or add labels to notify users about additional reporting elsewhere.”
Owens hopes that her lawsuit will give the public insight into who is actually doing the fact-checking, which is incredibly important in ensuring that our most popular social media planforms revert back to a free exchange of ideas, and not the dictatorship of one party and ideology.
Of course, Parler is also an option.
Photo from BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS