March 10, 2021

WSJ Fact-Checks Facebook Fact-Checkers

The Journal finds the “independent” fact-checkers are nothing more than opinion checkers.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal editorial board responded to yet another instance of Big Tech censorship by Facebook’s “fact-checkers.” A scholarly article written by John Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary about China virus herd immunity, published by the Journal and run on its Facebook page, was labeled as “missing context” thus “misleading” by “independent fact-checkers.” We feel their pain.

The reason for the article, titled “We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April,” being “fact-checked” appears clear — it challenged the Left’s political narrative on the pandemic. As the Journal notes, “The progressive health clerisy don’t like his projection because they worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions. The horror! Health Feedback’s fact checkers disagree with the evidence Dr. Makary cites as well as how he interprets it. Fine. Scientists disagree all the time. Much of conventional health wisdom about red meat, sodium and cardiovascular risk is still fiercely debated.”

Frustrated by the dubious “fact-check” of an opinion piece by a clearly well-educated and knowledgeable individual, the Journal decided to engage in a bit of fact-checking itself by fact-checking the “fact-checkers.” And it comes as no surprise that the Journal concluded that Facebook’s third-party “independent” fact-checkers were in fact opinion-checkers.

Indeed, much of the “evidence” the “fact-checkers” cited as justification for declaring Dr. Makary’s opinion wrong was itself dubiously cherrypicked and “missing context.”

Maybe the best thing to come out of this latest episode of Big Tech censorship is the Journal editorial board finally coming to the view many conservatives have been repeatedly espousing — the Section 230 protections that have given cover for this censorship abuse need to be addressed.

The editorial board writes, “We’ve been leery of proposals in Congress to modify Section 230 protections that shield internet platforms from liability. But social-media giants are increasingly adding phony fact checks and removing articles flagged by left-leaning users without explanation. In short, they are acting like publishers in vetting and stigmatizing the content of reputable publishers. The legal privileges that enable these companies to dominate public discourse need to be debated and perhaps revised.”

Welcome to the club.

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