Tuesday 10 December 2019

Nu.nl pulls out of Facebook fact checking service, citing policy toward politicians

Facebook app on mobile phone

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch news website Nu.nl has stopped checking for possible fake news on Facebook, ending a 2.5 year partnership with the social media giant.

Nu.nl says it has taken the decision because it is unhappy at Facebook’s refusal to sanction the fact checking of statements by politicians.

Nu.nl and Leiden University began checking Dutch Facebook posts which had been flagged up by users in 2017. The aim, Facebook said at the time, was to weed out fake news which has been placed to deliberately misinform or for financial gain.

Posts which contain fake news were not be removed from feeds but were given a lower placement

The Leiden team pulled the plug last year, leaving Nu.nl as the sole third-party fact-checker. That is one reason why Nu.nl is now stopping, editor in chief Gert-Jaap Hoekman said.

However, the most important reason is ‘that Facebook will not allow us to fact check politicians and political parties,’ he said in a blog posting. ‘We think freedom of speech does not mean you have the freedom to spread demonstrable untruths.’

In addition, the 2.5 years of work have shown that fake news is not a major problem in the Netherlands, Hoekman said.

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