Who’s Fact-Checking The Fact-Checkers – OpEd


Generally speaking, there are now six ways to correct the fact-checking organizations and represent a feedback loop in society.

Appealing the decision: This is usually done through the social media platform. For instance, In January 2022, BMJ submitted an appeal to Facebook challenging a decision made by one of the fact-checking organizations that’s also part of its partnership program. This decision led to labeling the covid-19 related investigation content as missing context and then was censored by the social media platform. BMJ announced this December it will raise its case to Facebook’s oversight board and the International Fact-checking organization (IFNC) after Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, facebook’s parent company, refused to intervene. In other cases, such as the Reason magazine article, the writer was lucky in his appeal. Facebook and their party fact-checking organization reconsidered their decision about an article that was skeptical about a study requesting masks in school and apologized for the mistake. Still, in other cases, Facebook and fact-checking organizations don’t listen to the appeals, and the writer had to sue them. For instance, In December 2021, when a journalist posted videos discussing the issue of climate change, a third part fact-checking organization flagged it as false, and later this label was lifted. 

Watchdog Groups: In some cases, groups such as Mrc Newsbusters monitor and review the published fact-checking verdicts. This approach helps incentivize the fact-checkers to improve the quality of their reports, but to avoid bias. These groups should be divers and engaged in the process and even let the public be part of it. 

Other fact-checking organizations: This approach is akin to the peer review system in science; for instance, Factcheck.org recently fact-checked  some of the shared information about Snope.com, a known fact-checking organization, 

Self-correction and updates: Many fact-checking organizations, such as Politifact, have a correction policy and admit mistakes when they occur. 

Experts and Journalists: when a fact-checking organization publishes a report, those with expertise and knowledge can also share their opinion. In January 2022, the daily signal published a rebuttal to a verdict made by the WP fact-checking department; worth noticing that some of these rebuttals are politically charged, lack neutrality, and are nothing but a tool to discredit the fact-checkers in public. 

Whenever they have the knowledge, ordinary citizens should be encouraged to share their input and correct any published fact-checking reports; much of the required information about the ongoing events is at the hand of individuals close to them. 

Truth is the underpinning assumption that guides democracy in any society; fact-checkers should not be given the final authority in determining what’s right or not; we should envision a system with feedback loops where myriad actors, regardless of their incentives, can take part in the process, and act with hope through this decentralized interactions the best for us will emerge. 

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