Facebook has announced that it will alert users who have been exposed to fake news about the coronavirus. People who have commented, liked, shared, or committed any action on a post that is red-flagged as harmful by Facebook will be directed to a website that debunks incorrect information. However, it seems as if Facebook is actually incapable of truly determining which news is fake and which is not, as it recently classified a documentary by The Epoch Times as “False Information” even though the reason to do so defies logic.
Blocking the documentary
The documentary, Tracking Down The Origin Of Wuhan Coronavirus, checked the scientific data, known facts, and personal opinions of some of the world’s most renowned scientists to present a truthful picture of how the CCP coronavirus may have come into existence. The documentary was a huge hit and garnered more than 70 million views from across the world. In the midst of such huge user interest, Facebook classified the video as “False Information.” And it turns out that Facebook took down the video it claims to be fake by resorting to false logic!
For instance, the fact-checker marked the documentary as fake based on a report from the New York Post published in February this year. The video makes the claim that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The fact-checker uses a statement from virologist Danielle E Anderson to judge that the video’s claim was false. Why? Because Anderson states that she had worked in the laboratory for the past two years and can “personally attest” to the containment measures at the lab.
The fact that Anderson is not an impartial source because of her history with the lab is enough to make the fact-checkers claim of the documentary turn to dust. However, it does not end there. Why would the security strength of the lab have anything to do with whether the virus came from there or not? The documentary just puts forward the possibility that the virus might have come from the lab. The fact-checker categorically denies this is possible. Why? Because someone who worked there in the past claimed that it is impossible? That is one of the most ridiculous ways to fact-check a claim.
Another big mistake is that the fact-checker marks the following claim made by the documentary as incorrect — “evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” As a response, the fact-checker states that scientific evidence points to the CCP virus being of a natural origin and not of human engineering. So what? The documentary simply says that the virus came from the lab. It makes no claim on whether the virus was natural or engineered!
Fake news problem
Several other videos that question China’s narrative have also been taken down by Facebook. But as we have just seen with The Epoch Times video, how can we trust Facebook to actually fact-check properly? Will Facebook keep removing videos according to its interests and we will be left powerless to do nothing about it? Shouldn’t there be compensation for wrongly labeling a video as “False Information”? Otherwise, how can Facebook be kept in line and trusted to truly remain impartial?
It should be kept in mind that Facebook is desperately trying to get into the Chinese market to expand its user base. Just as with every company trying to worm into the Chinese market, Facebook might end up cozying up to China and make the social media platform pro-Communist in the process. A good example of this would be the COVID-19 death toll statistics of China.
Facebook apparently accepts Beijing’s official statistics as true without even conducting a fact-check even though the government is well-known to fake data according to its whims. By doing so, isn’t Facebook aiding the Chinese government? If Facebook can “fact-check” a video by The Epoch Times, shouldn’t it also fact-check China’s numbers?