Videos by OutKick
In an interesting twist, Facebook admitted in court documents that its “fact checks” are opinion assertions, according to observers who have poured over documents filed in a defamation lawsuit brought against the company by journalist John Stossel.
“Stossel’s claims focus on the fact-check articles written by Climate Feedback, not the labels affixed through the Facebook platform. The labels themselves are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion,” Facebook’s lawyers argue.
Stossel wrote an op-ed this week in the New York Post where he addresses this whole labels on posts thing.
“I asked all Science Feedback’s reviewers about their ‘Misleading’ label. Two agreed to on-camera interviews. When I asked what was misleading about my video, they surprised me by saying that they hadn’t even watched my video! They offered no defense for posting words in quotation marks that I’d never said,” Stossel writes.
“I notified Facebook. No luck.”
“Facebook’s refusal to acknowledge its mistake hurts me because when Facebook fact-checks something, its algorithm makes sure fewer people see that video.”
Is Facebook admitting here that its “fact checks” are not really “fact” checks at all, but merely opinion assertions? Also, by FB claiming its labels constitute “opinions” then doesn’t that make it a publisher? https://t.co/ipCwXnnSvr pic.twitter.com/hOcjFRnCT2
— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) December 11, 2021
After a second video uploaded by Stossel, this one on the climate “crisis,” was hit with a misleading label, the journalist went back and asked the reviewers what was wrong with his post.
The reviewers allegedly told him that they didn’t like his “tone.”
Now Stossel is suing.
“This case presents a simple question: do Facebook and its vendors defame a user who posts factually accurate content, when they publicly announce that the content failed a ‘fact-check’ and is ‘partly false,’ and by attributing to the user a false claim that he never made?” Stossel’s complaint reads. “The answer, of course, is yes.”
In an earlier case involving Facebook labels, Candace Owens went after USA Today and a Facebook fact-check vendor over a “hoax alert” label, but a Delaware court ruled she couldn’t show that false statements were made against her with malice.