PolitiFact Editor: Facebook Not Censoring, Just Flagging; "So Far So Good"


Angie Holan, editor of PolitiFact, appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources to discuss the organization's partnership with Facebook to weed out "fake news." The organization is part of a program that will warn readers they are potentially reading "fake news."

Holan told host Brian Stelter nobody wants to censor anything, "we just want to give people accurate, credible information."

From Sunday's broadcast of Reliable Sources:

BRIAN STELTER: Look at your Facebook news need today. You may see a warning label attached to totally made-up stories.

Here's an example of what Facebook calls a flag on a fake story about a recount in Florida that is not really happening. It says disputed by ABC News.

Why? Because Facebook has been under intense pressure to do something about the proliferation of fake, bogus stories on its social network. ABC is a partner and so is PolitiFact.

Let me bring back Angie Holan, the editor, the top editor of PolitiFact. She joins me again in Washington.

Angie, there has been a lot of blowback already to this Facebook experiment. Some on the right are very skeptical, even mocking this. Why is it a worthwhile idea? Why are you helping Facebook try to fact-check these fake stories?

HOLAN: Go to Facebook, and they are going about their day looking to connect with friends and family. And then they see these headlines that are super dramatic and they wonder if they're right or not. And when they're wrong, sometimes they are really wrong. They're entirely made up.

It is not trying to censor anything. It is just trying to flag these reports that are fabricated out of thin air.

STELTER: And are you finding so far that it's working well with Facebook? Is there an example of a story you all have helped correct, for example?

HOLAN: So far, so good.

One of the reports that we did and published, the Web site that put out the fake news got back to us and said, oh, we're sorry. We're taking our report down.

STELTER: Really? We're sorry? So it's working.

HOLAN: Yes. Yes. It's early.

And Facebook has said they want to be careful. They want to test this. They want to iterate and see if they can make it work better. It's early days. But nobody here wants to censor anything. We just want to give people accurate, credible information.

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