Facebook announced last year that they will be using third-party fact-checkers to root out “fake news” on their platform. At the time of the announcement, conservatives sounded the alarm about how some of the fact-checkers they’re using are left-wing hacks like PolitiFact and Snopes (who recently, with straight faces, fact-checked a piece of satire from The Babylon Bee).
A recent warning that accompanied an article I wrote for PJM highlights the fallibility of Facebook’s fact-checking program:
Why a Canadian outfit is fact-checking U.S. news is anyone’s guess, but they clearly flagged my article in error. [It was brought to my attention after this article was published that AFP Canada is part of France’s state-run Agence France-Presse, so let me rephrase that question: Why has Facebook chosen a state-run French news outlet to fact-check U.S. news?]
You can read the article in question here. Facebook deprioritized my article after AFP Canada reported this:
While some media outlets did indeed report (more or less) falsely that California had made it illegal to shower and do laundry on the same day, I made no such claims. In fact, having seen other reporting making that claim (stretching the truth a bit, in my opinion) I conscientiously avoided making it. I merely laid out the facts about a typical family’s water usage and concluded that the 55-gallon-per-day water limit recently imposed on Californians “may” force them to choose between showering and doing laundry on the same day. Nevertheless, Facebook, relying on AFP’s article, apparently lumped mine in with those that stretched the truth a bit, even though the AFP article never mentioned PJ Media. They did, however, single out articles by Zero Hedge, Washington Times, and a local San Diego news station.
The article from AFP Canada made the following claims:
The new laws do set the following “standards” in future years for indoor residential water use:
- From 2022 to Jan. 1, 2025, the standard volume is 55 gallons per capita per day
- From Jan.1, 2025, this standard is reduced to 52.5 gallons per capita per day
- From Jan. 1, 2030, the standard is reduced to 50 gallons per capita per day
I quoted the bill directly in my piece so there would be no confusion as to what was included in the new standards and when they would take effect:
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita dailyas the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.