Facebook’s last fact-checker in the Netherlands just quit!
Facebook is all about fact-checking, except when it comes to politicians, it seems. For Nu.nl, this was reason enough to quit, meaning that there are no fact-checkers for Facebook in the Netherlands at the moment.
Facebook’s advertising guidelines don’t allow misinformation. However, politicians were formally exempted from this rule in September. "From now on we will treat speech from politicians as newsworthy content that should, as a general rule, be seen and heard," Nick Clegg, Facebook VP stated.
Previously, Leiden University was a fact-checker for Facebook but quit last year as it became uncomfortable with Facebook’s stance on political adverts. Now, Nu.nl no longer wants to work with Facebook, with the editor-in-chief Geert-Jaap Hoekman expressing, “What is the point of fighting fake news if you are not allowed to tackle politicians?" Nu.nl acted as an independent fact-checker and wanted to tackle fake news, regardless of the poster's job.
Stepping on each other’s toes
The dispute between Nu.nl and Facebook began when Nu.nl labelled an ad by Dutch politician Esther de Lange from the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) as false, saying that her statements could not be verified. Facebook refuted this, referring to their guidelines that say that politicians should not be fact-checked.
However, the final straw came when Facebook also requested that Nu.nl rescind the measures they took against PVV and FvD for previous posts containing unverifiable news. "Request" is a mild way of putting it, as Nu.nl was contractually obliged to get rid of the fake news warnings on the posts which were more than a year old. Two weeks later, Hoekman terminated Nu.nl’s partnership with Facebook.
"We value the work that Nu.nl has done and regret to see them go, but respect their decision as an independent business," a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook currently has 55 fact checkers working for them in 45 languages.