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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Facebook's 'fact checkers': Biased and prevaricating, backed by guess who?

In an effort to eliminate 'fake news' from its site, Facebook has appointed 'fact checkers' to confirm or deny whether stories are true. But one of Facebook's 'fact checkers' has already been caught in a lie while reporting on a story about the Obama administration trying to influence Israel's elections, while another has been accused of falsifying news and embezzling money from its own website.

The first fact checker caught with its pants down is PolitiFact. The second - caught literally with its pants down - is Snopes.

Here's PolitiFact.
PolitiFact, which is part of a new group that will help Facebook flag “disputed” stories, last year rated as “Mostly False” a claim that the U.S. funded an election effort in Israel via the nonprofit One Voice aimed at defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
PolitiFact left out of its declaration on One Voice that Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist who lists himself as an adviser and donor to PolitiFact, documents on his personal website that he has been “helping out” One Voice, where he writes he also serves as an adviser.
Also missing from PolitiFact’s rating about the One Voice claim is that One Voice is partnered with Google, which also happens to be a donor to the Poynter Institute for Media Studies,  which owns the Tampa Bay Times. PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times.
A senate investigation in July concluded that the State Department did not do anything illegal in funding One Voice to the tune of nearly $350,000 in 2013, but that the infrastructure created by One Voice at the time of the State Department financing could have been used last year in the anti-Netanyahu campaign.
While PolitiFact noted that its March 25, 2015 “Mostly False” designation “may change as more evidence comes to light,” it did rely largely on One Voice’s word on the matter while failing to note the ties between PolitiFact and the partners of One Voice.
Snopes, which I have said before I would not trust on anything political, has bigger issues.
Now a DailyMail.com investigation reveals that Snopes.com's founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.
He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site's staff members.
They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of 'embezzlement' and suggesting he is attempting a 'boondoggle' to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.
The Mikkelsons founded the site in 1995. The couple had met in the early 1990s on a folklore-themed online message board, and married before setting up the site.
War of the Roses, anyone?

Oh, and the PolitiFact article tells us that guess who is behind the 'fact checkers.'
Breitbart News last week reported that a cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the National Endowment for Democracy and Newmark’s foundation.
Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with Open Society on numerous projects and has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.
Well color me shocked.

My coverage of One Voice... and V-2015. Among other places.

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