Facebook loses Snopes as a fact-checker

Mark Zuckerberg

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Snopes said Friday that it won’t be renewing its fact-checking partnership with Facebook, which kicked off at the end of 2016 to help curb the spread of misinformation. 

“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,” Snopes said in a post on its site.

The fact-checking platform said it hasn’t ruled out working with Facebook in the future, and hopes to continue to discuss ways to combat misinformation. Snopes also said it hopes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with fact checkers following his 2019 resolution to “host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society.”

Facebook has faced scrutiny for not taking more action against fake news and misinformation, including interference by Russian trolls during the 2016 US presidential election. Last year, the social network landed in hot water after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy linked to the Trump presidential campaign, improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook users.

“We value the work that Snopes has done, and respect their decision as an independent business,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Fighting misinformation takes a multi-pronged approach from across the industry. We are committed to fighting this through many tactics, and the work that third-party fact-checkers do is a valued and important piece of this effort.”

Facebook says it has relationships with 34 fact-checking partners around the world for content in 16 languages, and it plans to add new partners and languages this year.

Snopes didn’t receive financial compensation when it first joined Facebook’s fact-checking effort, but later accepted Facebook’s offer for payment, it said. 

“Forgoing an economic opportunity is not a decision that we or any other journalistic enterprise can take lightly in the current publishing landscape,” Snopes’ post reads. “A change like this means that we have less money to invest in our publication – and we will need to adapt to make up for it.”

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook’s data mining scandal.

Infowars and Silicon Valley: Everything you need to know about the tech industry’s free speech debate.

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