The Poynter Institute published a column blasting Twitter and Facebook as “arbiters of the truth” on Thursday after the tech giants made “controversial and questionable” decisions to censor a New York Post article that was damaging to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
International Fact-Checking Network Associate Director Cristina Tardáguila penned the blistering column headlined, “Without methodology or transparency, Facebook and Twitter become the ‘arbiters of the truth,” which stated that anyone who doesn’t believe that is dangerous is simply “naive.”
“It seems like Facebook and Twitter have decided to assume the position they’ve been avoiding for so long. Less than a month from Election Day, both companies finally became arbiters of the truth on the internet. Naive are those who believe this isn’t dangerous,” Tardáguila wrote before detailing the events that resulted in Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley calling on the heads of Twitter and Facebook to testify about alleged social media censorship.
Critics have long claimed the social media platforms have been suppressing reports critical of Democrats and censorship of the New York Post bombshell this week that purports to show emails from Hunter Biden linking his father to his Ukraine business dealings as put the issue at the forefront.
“Professional fact-checkers should be transparent about their methodology, their sources and their organization’s financing. They should also have a public corrections policy and practice non-partisanship,” Tardáguila wrote. “when Facebook publicly acknowledged that it also reduces the distribution of potential disinformation using other methods, the company surprised not only its users, but also the IFCN community.”
She then asked, “What methodology do Facebook employees use in those situations? How do they identify what needs to be less distributed? What sources do they rely on to decide that something may be false? And… in those decisions, are the employees really nonpartisan?”
The Media Research Center recently found that employees of “both Facebook and Twitter gave over 90 percent of their political contributions to Democrats for the 2020 cycle so far.” This came after another recent report showed the overwhelming majority of campaign contributions from employees at big tech firms went to Democratic candidates.
“In trying to explain their decisions, both companies’ responses left the public with more questions than answers,” Tardáguila wrote. “Facebook said it had always had this policy against doubtful content and that it was just applying it once more. The fact-checking community, however, wasn’t aware of it... which is a bit strange, considering they work together to tackle misinformation.”
She then noted that Twitter’s initial claim that it doesn’t allow hacked content to spread didn’t add up, either.
“Some fact-checkers laughed at this assertion recalling previous episodes involving Wikileaks and the National Security Agency,” Tardáguila wrote.
“Transparency is essential to the fact-checking community and to the cause of reducing mis and disinformation,” she added. “The decision to reduce or prevent the distribution of the New York Post’s article based on some mysterious, non-transparent criteria and an unknown methodology is a serious mistake. It is a step that brings these companies closer to the slippery slope of censorship.”
Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this report