The Problem with Facebook's Factchecker

The Journal's 'fact-checking' is losing Facebook all credibility 

During the abortion referendum in 2018, The - an Irish online media platform - rewrote and altered its own previously published 'fact-check' in relation to Down Syndrome and abortion. 

It did not signpost the rewrite in the amended fact-check. 

The fact that 90% of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted in Britain is indisputable, can be confirmed by figures from the National Cytogenic Down Syndrome Register, and has been widely reported on many British media outlets. 

The Journal, who had previously rated material from Life Institute stating the fact as MOSTLY TRUE, changed their own fact-check during the abortion referendum, in order to say the claim was FALSE. 

These actions show that The Journal cannot be considered an unbiased, independent and credible fact-checker. This matters because they have been used by Facebook as an independent, third-party fact-checker. 

It is listed by Facebook as the only “third-party, fact-checking partner” working with the social media giant in Ireland.

Our review of The Journal’s fact-checking in the abortion referendum, however, shows that they cannot be taken seriously as an independent fact-checker.

  • In the 2018 referendum on the 8th amendment, The Journal rewrote and altered its own previously published fact-checks and made new findings which were beneficial to the Yes campaign.
  • The Journal changed the result of its original fact-check findings – even though the facts had not changed.
  • It amended its original fact-check finding, but did not signpost all of the changes in the article.

Given the power granted to these partners to impact on debate and information sharing, Facebook needs to engage a fact-checker which is impartial and genuinely independent. Otherwise, Facebook will also lose all credibility.

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