by Claire Bernish, Activist Post:
As you’ve likely heard by now, Facebook has taken its war against ‘fake news’ to a whole other level — employing third-party media and fact-checking organizations to judge whether news items are legitimate — to the consternation of countless users who see the platform overstepping red lines.
Servile corporate media immediately parroted the wealth of benefits that Facebook’s plan will ostensibly provide, from an alert and gateway system forced onto articles deemed “disputed,” to the organizations making the ‘kiss of death’ judgment call: Snopes, FactCheck.org, Politifact, and ABC News.
Anyone with passing knowledge of bias in media is probably spitting out their coffee — all four organizations are notoriously left-leaning and liberal, and the list includes no outlets with any other of myriad ideological tilts.
Indeed, right-leaning outlets from Breitbart to the Drudge Report, as well as the sizable alternative media community — who, collectively, held themselves to higher journalistic standards throughout the election cycle than “old media” titans like the New York Times and Washington Post — quickly condemned the unabashed bias imbued in Facebook’s plan.
Mark Zuckerberg, a large consensus concluded, just declared war on dissent — if not information, itself.
But in an article intended to criticize purveyors of ‘fake news’ and applaud the social media platform’s oh-so-noble efforts to strike such outlets from the American interwebs, The Atlantic’s Kaveh Waddell posited, “Will Facebook’s Fake News Warning Become a Badge of Honor?”
Waddell asks this question, the reader doesn’t discover until more than halfway through the article, through a lens of myopic bias — if not outright scorn — against anyone who dare question the motives of Facebook or its choice of fact-checkers.
“There’s a danger that people who are disinclined to trust traditional sources of information will treat Facebook’s warnings as a badge of honor,” Waddell clarifies. “If fact-checking organizations deem a story questionable, they might be more likely to read and share it, rather than less. There’s reason to believe this group might think of itself as a counterculture, and take the position that anything that ‘the man’ rejects must have a grain of subversive truth to it.”
For a journalist in a nationally regarded publication to display such seething condescension toward a category of people perhaps most critical to preventing a narrowing of news media to a single viewpoint is criminally self-interested, indeed — evincing the paranoia among old media to validate its reporting in the wake of horrendous election coverage.
Regardless of his patronizing tone, Waddell’s question presents what might be the thinnest silver lining to having a Facebook-approved information gatekeeper — news deemed “disputed” will be viewed by non-establishment thinkers as bearing the Scarlet Letter C — censored for being problematic for the political elite.
In other words, this soft censorship could facilely create a Streisand Effect — whereby efforts to suppress content backfire and instead draw greater attention to something than it ever would have received otherwise.
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