Facebook teams with rightwing Daily Caller in factchecking program

Site co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson has promoted misinformation and is known for pro-Trump content

 The Fox News host Tucker Carlson founded the Daily Caller. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook’s controversial factchecking program is partnering with the Daily Caller, a rightwing website that has pushed misinformation and is known for pro-Trump content.

The social network said Wednesday it had added CheckYourFact.com, which is part of the Daily Caller, as one of its US media partners in an initiative that has faced growing backlash from journalists and internal problems. The collaboration was first reported by Axios.

Factcheckers in the program are tasked with debunking potential false stories on Facebook to help stop their spread, but some journalists have said the effort hasn’t been effective, and one of its major American partners, Snopes.com, cut ties earlier this year.

The Daily Caller, co-founded by the far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson, publishes conservative news stories and commentary and has faced repeated accusations of running false and offensive content. In January, the site was widely condemned for the way it reported on a fake nude photo of the congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and its coverage of immigration and the White House has typically aligned with Trump’s agenda.

Check Your Fact is billed as the “fact-check department” of the Daily Caller, and the site says it is “non-partisan” and “loyal to neither people nor parties”. It has dedicated reporters rating content as true and false and says it is a for-profit subsidiary of the Daily Caller Inc, of which Carlson is a majority owner.

Facebook launched its factchecking program after the 2016 presidential election saw viral propaganda and false news on its platform and other social media sites. The company now partners with a wide range of media outlets around the globe, and its current US partners include the Associated Press, Factcheck.org and PolitiFact.

Asked about its collaboration with the Daily Caller, a Facebook spokesperson noted that any news organization can apply to join the program after it gains certification from the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, run by the journalism institute Poynter. Poynter could not immediately be reached.

This week, a Wired investigation on Facebook reported that a vice-president at the company had once argued that the Facebook newsfeed should treat the content from Daily Caller and Breitbart, another rightwing outlet, in the same manner as stories from mainstream news outlets.

On Wednesday, Facebook’s factchecking initiative also brought on Science Feedback, a not-for-profit organization that reviews news coverage on a range of subjects, including health and climate change.

Facebook typically pays its media partners, which has led to criticisms from journalists who say this creates a conflict of interest, given that the news outlets taking Facebook funding are also tasked with scrutinizing the company’s impact on society.

 

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