Snopes ends its fact-checking partnership with Facebook
There are numerous problems associated with Facebook, but the two that are talked about most are privacy and the spread of "fake news". To help combat the dissemination of misinformation, the social network partnered with numerous companies and news outlets to fact-check stories.
One of these partners was Snopes, the site famous for debunking myths, urban legends and fake news. But now the site has announced that it is ending its partnership with Facebook, citing " the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services".
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Snopes has been involved in Facebook's fact-checking venture for two years, and in 2017 was paid $100,000 by the social network -- of which it says "just as we believe credible and reliable content creators deserve to be paid for their work, we believe that fact-checkers should be compensated commensurately for the valuable services they provide to platforms".
But now Snopes has decided not to renew its partnership with Facebook. Announcing the decision, Vinny Green and David Mikkelson from the organization say:
At this time we are evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services, and we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff.
To be clear, we have not ruled out working with Facebook or any other platforms in the future. We hope to keep an open dialogue going with Facebook to discuss approaches to combating misinformation that are beneficial to platforms, fact-checking organizations, and the user community alike, and we particularly hope Mr. Zuckerberg meets with fact-checkers as part of his recently announced series of public discussions.
As reported by the Guardian, Snopes' former managing editor, Brooke Binkowski, was always opposed to the partnership, believing it to be a conflict of interest. He says:
This all could have been avoided if they had not taken money from Facebook to begin with. It was a huge conflict of interest. You cannot speak truth to power if you're being paid directly by power... We cannot pressure Facebook for transparency if we're their employees.
Facebook will continue to work with other fact-checkers to help verify stories that are posted on the site, and Snopes will continue to debunk news itself; the two will simply not be working together.