You’ve heard the wise axiom: “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” For social-networking giant Facebook, however, that saying might need to be upgraded to something more modern: “Live by liberalism, get slowly eaten by liberals.”
For over a year, Facebook has been working with fact-check groups including the website Snopes, supposedly with the goal of reducing blatantly false news stories and improving the quality of information.
But in an ironic twist, the often left-leaning fact-checkers are now the ones “debunking” Facebook.
“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” a former editor of Snopes complained to The Guardian last week. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck … They clearly don’t care.”
Many pundits, especially conservatives, often see companies like Facebook and Snopes as existing in the same liberal bubble. That view is not without evidence: The social networking site has a documented history of leaning left, and the statistics show its policies often end up slanted against the right.
Meanwhile, sites like Snopes, which partnered with Facebook not long after the 2016 election, have come under heavy criticism for giving a liberal spin to their supposedly even-handed ratings, even going so far as to fact-check and “debunk” clearly satirical humor content from a conservative publisher.
Facebook may have wanted sites like Snopes to be its tame guard dog, but now they’re at each others’ throats.
“They threw us under the bus at every opportunity,” declared Brooke Binkowski.
She recently left Snopes to start her own fact-checking site, and is now going public with her criticisms of her former employer and of Facebook. The editor is particularly upset about the financial incentives she says Facebook used to bend Snopes coverage in a certain direction.
When Binkowski found out about the payment agreement between the two companies, she started having second thoughts about the arrangement. “That felt really gross … Facebook has one mission and fact-checking websites should have a completely different mission,” she told The Guardian.
“You’re not doing journalism anymore. You’re doing propaganda,” she said, sharing her view that the social network was pushing fact-checkers to go after articles which criticized Facebook’s biggest advertisers.
In some examples, the former Snopes editor and others in similar positions appeared to be upset with Facebook because it didn’t go far enough left.
“[O]ther partners said … they had grown increasingly resentful of Facebook, especially following revelations that the company had paid a consulting firm to go after opponents by publicizing their association with billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros,” The Guardian reported.
There might have been a good reason to look into Soros. It’s well known that he is a major funding source of far-left movements, who often uses an array of vague-sounding organizations to finance a liberal agenda.
In other words, it looks like Facebook wanted to increase transparency about who was funding what, but editors at outlets like Snopes balked at the idea of fact-checking a liberal ally like Soros.
“Why should we trust Facebook when it’s pushing the same rumors that its own fact-checkers are calling fake news?” one fact-checker who wished to remain anonymous asked The Guardian.
“It’s worth asking how do they treat stories about George Soros on the platform knowing they specifically pay people to try to link political enemies to him?” that editor continued.
All of this boils down to a few points. First, even liberals from sites like Snopes are now acknowledging what conservatives have claimed for years: Facebook is far more politically motivated than it pretends, and the toxic mix of money, influence, and politics is as real there as anywhere else.
Second, the left is never satisfied. As we’ve seen with the rising tide of political correctness and fresh-faced politicians eager for attention, liberals have no qualms about throwing their supposed allies under the bus. In an attempt to appease the left, Facebook invited them in but is now finding out that they want more and more control.
Like thick vines entangling a building and blocking out the light, always growing more thick and invasive, liberalism doesn’t stop. It just continues to clog up whatever place or organization it’s allowed to thrive.
Unless Facebook learns this lesson, it could ultimately be the left that ruins the world’s most well-known social network.
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