Two leading fact-checking agencies ended their partnerships with Facebook, and this has struck a significant blow to their efforts to fight fake news. The social network had paid the Associated Press and Snopes to combat their misinformation crisis, but both the firms stopped checking articles by the end of 2018, and wouldn’t renew their contracts, reported BBC.
On Friday, a Snopes statement said it had been “evaluating the ramifications and costs to provide third-party fact-checking services” and wanted their efforts to be “a net positive for the entire online community, publication, and staff.”
The Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski said- “They essentially used us for crisis PR. They didn’t take anything seriously. They seemed more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly didn’t care. Facebook was too controlling regarding the fact-checking companies. Facebook can’t handle any kind of pushback, any kind of public criticism. We felt mishandled.”
The site’s founder David Mikkelson and head of operations Vinny Green said that the firm wouldn’t rule out working with Facebook in the future. They said- “We hope to keep a dialogue open with Facebook in order to discuss approaches in combating misinformation which is beneficial for platforms, fact-checking organisations and the user community alike.”
In 2017, Facebook paid Snopes a whopping $100,000 for their work. Snopes didn’t release any financial disclosures as of now for 2018.
The company said- “Forgoing an economic opportunity is not a decision which we or other journalistic enterprises would take lightly in the current publishing landscape.”
Facebook said that they would be committed to fighting fake news and said that they have been in the expanding efforts phase. We have strong relationships with 34 fact-checking partners all over the globe and they have fact-checked content in 16 languages, and we have plans of expanding the programme further in 2019 by adding new partners as well as languages.”
Facebook’s fact-checking collaboration started after the 2016 US presidential poll which led to significant complications regarding the propaganda and false news polluting the site.
Studies and analyses of the initiative repeatedly have been raising questions regarding whether or not the partnership would make any difference, and Facebook refused to release meaningful data.