Hey Facebook! Fact-Check This!
Opinion by Jay Douglas
I'm on Facebook as well as this Web site. Today (4/6/2020), I received a Notification from Facebook accusing me of posting false information.
Technically, it's not Facebook doing the accusing. It's Politifact, one of their partners. If you want to call somebody a liar, it's smart to
get somebody else to do it for you, I suppose. It doesn't specify which of my posts contains false information, but I'm assuming it was a link to this video:
[Note from JD: Overnight, the video was removed by the uploader, according to YouTube. It was gone by the morning of 4/7/2020]
My only comment was simply, "Hmmmmm..." That's a comment I learned from Arsenio Hall's old late-night TV show circa 1980,
a segmewnt he called, "Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm..." I use it when I find something interesting, but am unsure what to make of it.
I said nothing about whether I thought the video and the comments in it were true or false. But the idea of citizen journalists is intrigueing to me.
And I think my radio show listeners and Facebook viewers and friends are smart enough to make their own decisions about the verity of the video. To quote MGM's Samuel Goldwyn to Politifact,
"If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
Meanwhile, Facebook, are you a publisher or a common carrier? I know you'd like to have it both ways, depending on the context and situation. If you want to edit user posts or add "editor's notes"
to them as you did for mine, that gives you First Amendment rights and freedom from government regulation. But if you're a common carrier to avoid the risks of libel and slander lawsuits,
then you are subject to governmnet regulation and can't touch user content. Which is it?