It is important for anyone who identifies as a ‘fact-checker’ to be as objective and neutral as possible. At least in theory.
But Facebook might not have done its homework in finding the right fact-checkers. The “charity” Full Fact was announced on January 11 as the new fact-checkers for Facebook. The BBC reports that the organization will “review stories, images and videos and rate them based on accuracy.”
But these fact-checkers might have a bigger agenda, according to their funding page. Google and liberal billionaire George Soros have donated extensively to Full Fact in 2018 alone. It is also funded by a radical leftist, Pierre Omidyar, who funds the Never Trump site the Bulwark, headed by Bill Kristol.
Perhaps the move was meant to placate Soros, whose organizations, including the Color of Change, have lobbied to have Facebook undergo a civil rights audit. Facebook has been under fire following the New York Times report, which said that Facebook hired a right-wing group to do opposition research on Soros.
However, there are no conservative fact-checkers left in the Facebook fact-checking family. With the close of the Weekly Standard, Facebook has yet to name a conservative successor to fact-check.
While Full Fact strenuously objects to any criticism regarding partisan politics, it wrote on its website, “Ultimately, it is for our audience to judge for themselves whether we succeed.”
In 2018, Google donated 210,445 British pounds, plus a 20,000 pound direct donation. That equals $269,175, plus an additional $25,581. Open Society Foundations, funded by George Soros, (who has called for Facebook to be split up), donated 71,917 pounds, or $91,987.
The lead editor at Full Fact is Tom Phillips, formerly editor at Buzzfeed UK. Phillips had written extensively on the alt-right at Buzzfeed, and wrote a piece about the 2016 American election (despite being in the U.K.) In that piece, he referred to the race as a “churning hellscape,” and shared a picture of a weeping woman with the caption, “It’s okay. We can get through this nightmare together! Grab your favorite crying pillow.”
Other probably well-checked pieces written by Phillips include, “What Actual Pile of Garbage Are You?”, “35 Ways of Describing Brexit, Ranked By How Much They Sound Like Sex Things,” and the extremely factual “How to Talk to A Woman Even Though She’s A Ghost.”
According to Wired, pieces that have been determined to be “fake news” by Full Fact will not be deleted, but they will be “shown lower in users’ news feeds, a move intended to decrease the number of people who end up seeing the content.”
Conservatives have gotten slammed by Facebook’s fact-checkers in the past, including a clearly marked satirical piece from the Babylon Bee about CNN’s “spin cycle washing machine” that was marked “fake news.”