Snopes Ends Fact-Checking Partnership With Facebook After Former Editor Says: They’ve ‘Used Us For Crisis PR’


Fact-checking website Snopes is withdrawing from a two-year partnership with Facebook, announced the founder David Mikkelson and vice president Vinny Green Friday, citing a desire for “certainty” that using a third-party platform will help better the community.

“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,” the two wrote in a statement published to the website.

In a December piece published by the Guardian, several former Snopes fact checkers mentioned losing trust in Facebook after realizing the platform had no intention of ending abuse of misinformation and propaganda domestically and abroad.

“I strongly believe that they are spreading fake news on behalf of hostile foreign powers and authoritarian governments as part of their business model,” said former Snopes editor Brooke Binkowski who, frustrated with the Snopes-Facebook partnership, eventually left Snopes to start her own fact checking site. She added, “They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR.”

It became obvious the social media platform had only hired fact checkers in order to make the “appearance of trying to prevent damage without actually doing anything,” said Kim LaCapria, another former fact checker and content manager who left Snopes because she was frustrated with the partnership.

Snopes has been working with Facebook for two years, during part of which time they were paid for their fact-checking services. Mikkelson and Green did not rule out working with Facebook or any other social media platform in the future, but indicate a commitment to unbiased fact-checking as the 2020 election cycle approaches.

The two also expressed hope Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would meet with fact-checkers as part of his 2019 “public discussions” series regarding societal changes impacted by technology.

Facebook has been under fire in the recent years for a number of issues relating to political bias, advertisement fraud, conflict of international ethics, and selling of personal data to private and potentially also government agencies, among other privacy concerns.

In addition to losing its partnership with Snopes, the tech company suffered another, larger loss earlier this week: Apple banned Facebook from distributing internal iOS apps after it was found Facebook had abused their partnership by installing monitoring software on teenagers’ phones.

[featured photo via Getty Images]

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