Polling indicates that former President Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican candidate. During his first candidacy and presidency, fact-checkers became more critical than ever. They reported lies and misinformation and helped people decipher fact from fiction.
Thom Hartmann wrote about this problem. He said, “The […] GOP wants misinformation to reign as we head into the 2024 election. Without lies, they can’t win most competitive elections, and they want to keep those lies from fact-checking, regardless of what accurate information the voters need or the damage they inflict on our nation.”
According to The Washington Post, “Academics, universities, and government agencies are overhauling or ending research programs designed to counter the spread of online misinformation.”
Unfortunately, one of those academic fact-checking organizations is Stanford University.
They are considering shutting down the Election Integrity Partnership and the Stanford Media Observatory.
Some of these programs study political falsehoods and online medical information quality. The Washington Post reported, “The coalition of disinformation researchers may shrink and also may stop communicating with X/Twitter and Facebook about their findings.”
The coalition of disinformation researchers may shrink.
Several organizations have already shut down their fact-checkers or are contemplating doing so.
The move to quit fact-checking is to avoid expensive and time-consuming attacks from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other extremist GOP Congressional members, state government, and right-wing media.
The College of Staten Island’s CSI Library lists the following sites have active fact-checkers: PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, Washington Post Fact Checker, Snopes, Fact Check from Duke Reporters’ Lab, SciCheck, FlackCheck, Media Bias/Fact Check, and NPR FactCheck.
Facebook and X/Twitter No Longer Use Fact-Checkers
CNN Politics reported it obtained a company memo from Meta that said the social media’s fact-checkers would need to stop double-checking former President Trump’s posts.
This announcement followed the launch of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid. While he remains banned from Facebook, this fact-checking ban applies to anything others post on the platform.
Trump’s political group runs the “Team Trump” page. It is still active, with 2.3 million followers.
However, this fact-checker ban applies to all politicians, not just the twice-impeached, four-times-indicted former president. Meta executive Nick Clegg, a former politician, defends the exemption saying, “It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak.”
X/Twitter disbanded its fact-checkers policy. Elon Musk, the platform’s CEO, has proven indecisive regarding how his social media site handles misinformation. According to The Guardian, the site no longer lets users report misleading information.
Since 2021, users from the United States, Australia, and South Korea had the ability to flag tweets they believed contained false or misleading information for review by X/Twitter fact-checkers. In 2022, the policy expanded to include users from Brazil, the Philippines, and Spain.
The Guardian further reported that Reset Australia said the platform’s move was “extremely concerning” that the option was removed weeks before the nation’s referendum on adding an Indigenous voice to Parliament.
X/Twitter’s move came at “a disastrous point in time for Australia’s electoral integrity,” especially if the option had been deliberately removed.
Musk fervently opposes platforms censoring content, which he says was the key reason he bought X/Twitter. He does not care about anything but his bottom dollar.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Hartmann Report: Republican Attacks on Fact-Checkers are Now on Steroids; By Thom Hartmann
The Washington Post: Misinformation research is buckling under GOP legal attacks; By Naomi Nix, Cat Zakrzewski, and Joseph Menn
The Guardian: X/Twitter scraps feature letting users report misleading information
Duke Reporters’ Lab: Vast gaps in fact-checking across the U.S. allow politicians to elude scrutiny; By Mark Stencel and Erica Ryan
CNN: Facebook fact-checkers will stop checking Trump after presidential bid announcement; By Donie O’Sullivan
Featured and Top Image by Gage Skidmore Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Marco Verch Professional Photography Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Common License
Second Inset Image by Lobo Studio Hamburg Courtesy of Pixabay – Creative Commons License