Saturday, 19 February 2022

Facebook is accusing its users of spreading fake news if they dare mention that some companies are enjoying record profits during inflation. The thing is, Facebook is not disputing that these companies are enjoying record profits during inflation because that claim is factually correct. Instead, they're saying that inflation is not caused by the record profits, therefore, the posts are false or missing context.

Here's the thing, Facebook: You do not need to be an economist to see that any company enjoying record profits has no need to inflate their prices. If they are doing so, they are doing it because of corporate greed. At this point, any external factors become irrelevant.

What's particularly disturbing here is how Facebook does not seem to be making a sincere attempt to counter fake news at all. It looks like the latest in a long line of attempts to control the narrative. Rather than allow genuine pluralism on their platform, they're pushing a centrist, pro-corporate but socially liberal agenda to create the illusion of balance. They're pissing off both the left and the right wing under the false notion this is equivalent to objectivity. Yet it's the very opposite of objectivity. It's manipulation.

I fell foul of Facebook's "fact checkers" myself last year when I made a post which was labelled as fake news, even though the gist of the post was correct. I had facetiously suggested Serco had "magically disappeared" the £37 billion test and trace budget, but what I was essentially doing was questioning where the money had been allocated. Only a fool could have taken that line literally. Facebook did, saying the post had "no basis in reality" and they reduced the visibility of my Facebook group as a result. To this day, if I post in my own group, the visibility of my posts is much lower than they used to be.

Here is the screenshot of the original post that I'd shared from Twitter onto Facebook:

If I'd changed the words "that Serco magically disappeared" to "allocated to the test and trace program", my post would have been 100% accurate. Instead, Facebook said it had no basis in reality. With a few Google searches, you can check my claims yourself and find out if they have any basis in reality.

It gets even better. Serco personally thanked Full Fact on Twitter for doing their "fact check" on me. It genuinely looked like someone had put them up to this.

This is not tackling fake news. That would come with only targeting posts that make objectively false claims, like for example, if I said Joe Biden had just kicked a puppy on national TV, you could say that statement is objectively false. But then again, what if the post was satirical?

Facebook should not be intervening when there are ambiguities and when posts stray into subjective opinions or satire. Only in the most clear cut cases of fake news, should they be applying a warning label or de-boosting someone. Instead, their staff are going into every political group and page and applying these questionable warning flags. This is a huge attack on free speech.