Fact-checkers Snopes, Associated Press cease working with Facebook

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Snopes.com ceases fact-checking work on Facebook

It seems like every day there is a new reason for users to ditch Facebook.

Besides the simple fact that browsing Facebook is perhaps the most punishingly boring experience that one could subject themselves to online, there are other, more concrete objective concerns. Like the issue that Facebook as an organization is committed to hoovering up as much personal data as possible, even if you aren’t a user. And then there’s the toll that Facebook has on users’ mental health.

That’s just scratching the surface, though. You can examine Facebook from several aspects and, invariably, a blemish appears. For instance, if you were somehow still using Facebook as a tool to consume news, Facebook’s already-suspect information looks to have experienced another blow as Snopes and the Associated Press have stopped working with Facebook for the foreseeable future.

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Helping Stop Misinformation…For a While at Least

Since 2016, Facebook has commissioned the services of Snopes in an effort to combat the spread of misinformation on the platform. In a blog post published on Feb. 1, Snopes founder David Mikkelsen laid out the company’s reason for not renewing the partnership.

“At this time we are evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services,” read the statement. “We want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff.”

Despite that reevaluation, Snopes didn’t go as far as to completely burn the bridge to Facebook, saying that they “have not ruled out working with Facebook or any other platforms in the future.”

A spokesperson for the AP told BBC that the AP “constantly evaluates how to best deploy its fact-checking resources, and that includes ongoing conversations with Facebook about opportunities to do important fact-checking work on its platform.”

Is Facebook Actually Committed to Fighting Fake News?

It’s worth noting that even though these are two of the most well-known fact-checking entities that most laypeople would know, they aren’t the only two that Facebook relies on. When the AP and Snopes reported that they were no longer lending their fact-checking resources to Facebook, the company reassured that it is still committed to combating fake news.

“We have strong relationships with 34 fact-checking partners around the world who fact-check content in 16 languages,” said Facebook in a statement to the BBC. “And we plan to expand the programme this year by adding new partners and languages.”

Yet, according to Snopes fact-checkers, working with Facebook is an uphill battle. In a 2018 report published by The Guardian, former Snopes employees expressed frustration at Facebook, saying the company lacked transparency and used fact-checkers as “crisis PR.”

Shocker. Though Snopes and the AP have bowed out of Facebook’s fact-checking, fake news maw, other key fact-checking firms are sticking around including Politifact and Factcheck.org.