Conservative Media Freak Out Over Facebook’s Plan To Address The Fake News Problem

Right-wing media figures attacked Facebook for announcing that it would partner with third-party fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact and The Associated Press to combat fake news. The freakout from conservative pundits follows their repeated attempts to hijack the term “fake news” in order to discredit mainstream news sources.

Facebook Announces Partnerships With Independent Fact-Checkers To Combat Fake News

Facebook’s International Fact-Checking Network Includes PolitiFact,, Wash. Post, Among Others. Facebook announced on December 15 that it is “partnering with organizations that have signed on to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles to enable them to verify selected links being shared on Facebook.” So far, “Associated Press, PolitiFact,, Snopes, The Washington Post, and ABC News” have signed on to the agreement. The organizations “will have access to a special online queue that will show links Facebook determined may be suitable for a fact check” and can “[rate] the content of the link as false” if they determine so, “thereby alerting users to potential factual issues.” Facebook’s vice president of product management for news feed, Adam Mosseri, noted that “Facebook is initially focused on attacking ‘the worst of the worst’ of fake news,” which he defined as “clear hoaxes that are intentionally false and usually spread by spammers for financial gain.” [BuzzFeed, 12/15/16]

Right-Wing Media Figures Lash Out At Facebook

Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe: “Did Uber-Biased [Media Matters] Coerce @Facebook To Use Biased Sources Like @PolitiFact @Snopes To Determine What’s #FakeNews?”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro: “This Is A Disaster For News Coverage.” Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro claimed that Facebook’s move to “rely on leftist fact-checkers” “is a disaster for news coverage.” Shapiro wrote, “It’s an attempt to restore gatekeepers who have a bias as the ultimate arbiters of truth. If these organizations begin questioning articles and penalizing outlets for simple political disagreements rather than outright factual falsities, conservatives will have to go elsewhere for their news.” [The Daily Wire, 12/15/16]

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway: “FB Is Going To Screen For Fake News Using POLITIFACT? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's Hilarious. Really And Truly Hilarious.”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway: “Conservatives Need To Scream Bloody Murder About This. These Organizations Cannot Be Trusted To Be Fair To Conservatives. Full Stop.”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Heat Street Contributor Stephen Miller: “Big Problem.”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering: “So Did Facebook Intentionally Announce Their Censorship Plans On The 225th Anniversary Of The Bill Of Rights?”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

The Federalist’s Sean Davis: “Facebook Responded To Revelations That It Blacklisted Conservatives By Giving DNC Propaganda Outfits Power To Blacklist Conservatives.”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

NY Post’s Kyle Smith: “The Fact That Liberals, And Only Liberals, Are Defending Snopes Et Al Kind Of Tells You Something, No?”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson: “Translation: A Group Of Incredibly Biased Left-Wing Fake News Outlets Will Bury Dissenting Opinions.”

[Twitter, 12/15/16]

Drudge Report: “Fakebook To Label 'News.'”  [Drudge Report, accessed 12/15/16] 

Infowars' Alex Jones: Facebook To Bring “End Of Free Internet” By “Burying News, Like The Communist Chinese Do.” Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones denounced Facebook's announcement as the beginning of a “blacklist” and threatened to sue Facebook for allowing New York Times articles to remain active while “censoring” stories from Jones' website Infowars. Jones said the Facebook partnerships would be used for “burying news, like the Communist Chinese do,” and said the announcement heralded “the end of free internet.” Jones also bizarrely claimed the CIA is behind the Facebook announcement. [Infowars, 12/15/16

Conservatives Have Tried Twisting Meaning Of “Fake News” To Attack News And Outlets They Disagree With

Right-Wing Media Personalities Have Labeled Mainstream Competitors As “Fake News.” Some right-wing media figures and outlets have attempted to twist and confuse the term “fake news” -- a specific phenomenon in which information is clearly and demonstrably fabricated, then packaged and distributed to appear as legitimate -- to attack outlets they disagree with. By trying to redefine fake news in their own terms and claiming that reporting by outlets such as The New York Times and CNN constitutes fake news, right-wing media figures are muddling real concerns about fake news being used as a weapon of active disinformation. [Media Matters, 12/9/16]

This post has been updated with additional content.