Well, well, well… What do we have here? It seems that the Fact Checkers at good ol’ Facebook (now Meta) may not actually be Fact Checkers after all, but Opinion Protectors conducting activities related to the protecting of opinion.
Now, I will preface this opinion piece I’m writing at this point in time with one element of doubt that still needs to be put to rest. The filing linked to above is hosted on Scribd, and not on other registers or sites like UniCourt.
UniCourt at this time does not have a record of Document 27 (also hosted on Reclaim The Net) which was apparently filed on the 29th of November, 2021. However, if you consider that Santa Carla Law Digital Commons only has one document on file pertaining to this case, then conversations around humans, proficiency, workloads and systems often yields different outcomes.
Bigger Fact Checking Fish to Fry?
As Facebook seeks to sue Dung Ma (Thêm Nguyễn) for cookie theft to the tune of $36M, I’ve got to wonder about the broader impact caused by the Fact Checkers on global society.
What I want you to think about here is the impact that the fact checking (let’s refer to it by what it is called in the filing on page 2, line 8; opinion protecting) as done by Facebook has resulted in. Like me, have you witnessed or been involved in heated divisions between families and friends, the stifling of free speech (as subjective as that may be), or more based on these opinion protectors?
Let’s be intellectually honest here, Facebook is certainly far from being omniscient. And we know that there is an arguably long and questionable past with regard to integrity. What I want to know is, who watches the watchers in a situation like this?
And when the truth of the fact checking is revealed to be opinion protecting, what do we then do with regard to our platform for formulation our own opinions and the subsequent making of decisions? After all, if we’re trusting in opinion protectors, aren’t we simply operating on a received opinion, and not an understanding of the facts to form our own opinions?
It’s all just Opinion anyhow
As you can tell by the tone here, with regard to the matter of fact checking, what I see as potentially the most heinous of all impacts is the filtering of ‘opinions’ as ‘facts’ into the public space as information. Given that an opinion by definition in and of itself cannot be wrong, the interpretation and presentation of the facts however, can be.
I would like to invite you to keep in mind that there is a big difference between facts and truth. And when you boil these down to opinion in this situation, opinion may well be the bastard child of collusion and vested interests.
The activities of Opinion Protectors may be something that is interpreted to have inadvertently resulted in opinion driven coercion on various levels across 2020-21 and possibly into 2022. I would argue that none of this has been, or is remotely inadvertent.
Regardless of the fact that the application of the various prongs of the anti-SLAPP statute saw Stossel’s claim against Facebook (Meta) for defamation struck and the conclusion that the matter should be dismissed with prejudice, this does not change the information recorded on Page 2, Line 8 about these activities being opinion protecting, and not fact checking.
Per the Memorandum of Points and Authorities stated on Page 1, Facebook have eloquently distanced themselves from the activities of the Opinion Protectors and defined this as a feature of their system to ensure that Meta doesn’t become an arbiter of truth on its platforms. Curious comparison?
I’ve often questioned and challenged the information provided by entities labelled as fact checkers and found that they do not allow for open and honest discussion in matters that have a somewhat heated social agenda. Particularly when voices of qualified authority are stifled.
If, as Page 2, Line 8 states that these are matters of protected opinion, then that’s all that they are. Opinion.