Facebook to CNN: InfoWars offers “opinion and analysis,” and will stay on the platform


Since the 2016 presidential election, Facebook repeatedly has said it is committed to combating false news and misinformation. But this week, Facebook may have shot itself in the foot.

Facebook invited a group of journalists to a presentation on how the social network is combating fake news, according to CNN. But when pressed about why Facebook won’t take down InfoWars, an extreme right-wing media outlet that peddles false conspiracy theories, Facebook said InfoWars did not violate its community standards and highlighted the company’s commitment to free speech.

On Thursday, Facebook — on Twitter — clarified its stance about why it will not remove InfoWars from its platforms, saying there are outlets on both ends of the political spectrum producing what some may consider fake news.

“We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis – but others call fake news,” tweeted Facebook. “We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech.”

InfoWars propagated some of the biggest false conspiracy theories in the United States in recent years, ranging from the notion that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax starring child actors, to alleging a pizza shop in Washington, D.C. secretly ran a Democrat-led child sex ring. In recent months, InfoWars sought to discredit the Parkland High School survivors and activists as actors and suggested that the Democrats were going to launch a civil war on July 4th.

Facebook said that while InfoWars did not violate its community standards by “sharing fake news” and thus will not be banned, it implemented controls that limit the visibility of posts from the outlet. Facebook demonetizes and demotes Pages reported by its users and labeled fake by its human fact-checkers, and the demoted Pages can lose up to 80 percent of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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