After publishing my recent article on China’s admitting to being funded by the National Institute of Health and showed evidence that the COVID-19 coronavirus originated in the Wuhan P4 Bioweapons Lab, I was contacted by several readers who informed me they were not able to post the article on Facebook without a “False Info” label attached.
So, I tried it for myself to see what options came up when trying to post the link on Facebook (no additional commentary) :
The following link was offered to me under “Learn More”: https://www.facebook.com/help/publisher/182222309230722
“We’re committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook and Instagram. In certain countries and regions we work with third-party fact-checkers who are certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network to help identify and review false news.”
Non-partisan huh? No bias, right?
At this point, I just wrote it off. I was then contacted by another reader who said they saw a similar article was able to successfully post to Facebook that covered the same issue of funding to the Wuhan P4 Laboratory. So I decided to dig a little more into who exactly the “fact checkers” are since according to the link above, you can apply as a third-party fact-checker and be vetted.
While my article was “independently fact checked” by USA Today, it was cited using links to articles and photos from reports. Everything I stated in my article was backed up with evidence so that the reader could investigate for themselves.
Apparently this is a fairly new development with USA Today becoming certified through the “non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network” as a Facebook third-party fact-checker as recently as March 12th, 2020.
“As a media organization with unparalleled local-to-national reach, we take our commitment to providing people with truthful information very seriously, and fact-checking is integral to the journalism being done by USA TODAY and in Gannett newsrooms across the country” said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, Gannett’s news leader and Publisher of USA TODAY. “We also recognize that the distribution of false information on social media is a concerning issue that warrants attention in today’s world, so joining Facebook’s fact-checking program to identify misinformation felt like a natural step for us. We are proud to partner with Facebook on a program with such an important mission.”USA Today on joining with Facebook as a third-party fact-checker
This morning I opened Zero Hedge to find that a separate Facebook “independent fact checker” has been labeling articles and posts that claim COVID-19 leaked or was intentionally released from the Wuhan Bioweapons Lab (Wuhan Institute of Virology or WIV) as FAKE NEWS.
Conflict of Interest Much?
This wouldn’t be such a surprise that Facebook uses more than one third-party “fact checker” except for the fact that this “fact checker” contributes regularly to Science Feedback, and worked directly with coronavirus bat research at WIV. Science Feedback is an interesting website that reviews COVID-19 claims, amongst other topics. Will they promptly label some of their own reviews as “FAKE NEWS” or “FALSE INFO” when they are proven to be wrong? Doubt it, I’m sure the reviews will quietly go away as if they were never there to begin with, rather than be corrected.
Note her area of expertise above: As Assistant Professor, she led a team to isolate SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples of one of the very first patients who tested positive for COVID-19, she also has interest in virus/host relationships of a diverse group of medically important negative-stranded RNA viruses including Measles virus, Mumps virus, Nipah virus, MERS, and Zika virus. She helped to develop a test kit for COVID-19 to assist Singapore authorities. It does seem as if she would be far too busy to review posts and articles for Facebook all day, but I digress. I guess we all have a “thing,” and stoking the flames of misinformation appears to be hers.
‘I have worked in this exact laboratory at various times for the past 2 years. I can personally attest to the strict control and containment measures implemented while working there,’ Anderson writes in one such ‘debunking’ of a New York Post article that claims “China [is having] a problem keeping dangerous pathogens in test tubes where they belong” while Science Feedback cast doubt on the Post‘s claim that ‘evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.‘
An April 9 report in the Journal reveals that COVID-19 is genetically identical to a coronavirus found in a horseshoe bat ‘collected by hazmat-clad scientists from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan.’From: Zero Hedge
This last blurb from Journal is what I stated in my article Did China Just Admit the Obama Administration Funded $3.7 Mil for COVID-19 Development?, using a handful of different sources:
“A quick search of Anderson’s publications reveals no fewer than nine collaborations with Dr. Peng Zhou – a Wuhan scientist experimenting on bat coronavirus (the mention of whom may result in a Twitter ban),” writes Tyler Durden with Zero Hedge.
You’ll recall that Zero Hedge was suspended indefinitely from Twitter after posting an article titled “Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?” that asked if Wuhan Bioweapons Lab scientist and the Leader of the Bat Virus Infection and Immunization Group at the Institute Peng Zhou had any connection to the pandemic. That article was then attacked in a response article by Ryan Broderick with BuzzFeed titled A Pro-Trump Blog Doxed A Chinese Scientist It Falsely Accused Of Creating The Coronavirus As A Bioweapon.
Broderick then took to his personal Twitter account to boast about his part in getting Zero Hedge’s official Twitter account suspended and admitting to contacting Twitter for “clarity,” aka reporting Zero Hedge’s account.
Zero Hedge defended their article stating that their coverage of the COVID-19 origin was not different from other similar pieces from Health.com: “No, Coronavirus Was Not Caused by ‘Bat Soup,'” and Business Insider writing: “Experts think the Wuhan coronavirus jumped from bats to snakes to people. Bats have been the source of at least 4 pandemics.”
This is essentially the same thing that happened with my article. While similar articles, covering the exact same topic were allowed on social media platforms, mine was not. Why?
I did see there was an option to dispute the Facebook claim against my article, and it directs me to reach out to the third-party fact-checking organizations via email:
Below you’ll see a list of countries where you have the option to click and access the third-party fact-checker’s email address to contact them directly. Under the United States dropdown are the following outlets listed as independent third-party fact-checkers: AFP United States, The Associated Press, Check Your Fact, Factcheck.org, Lead Stories, PolitiFact, Science Feedback, Reuters Fact Check and USA Today.
We’ll see where this dispute goes and I’ll shoot for a follow up article.
This story is developing.
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