Facebook is censoring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s story about US involvement in the destruction of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines using a ‘fact checker’ with links to the Norwegian government in what represents a clear conflict of interest.
Earlier this year, Hersh published a report asserting that the pipelines were destroyed by the US as part of a covert operation which was organized with the aid of the Norwegian government, Norwegian Secret Service and Navy.
Journalist Michael Shellenberger first noticed the issue when he tried to post Hersh’s article to Facebook, but saw the social media giant had slapped a warning label on the link stating, “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers.”
Except the ‘fact-checkers’ in question aren’t independent at all.
There is a big debate over who blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. Instead of allowing the debate, Facebook has decided to take a side. It is censoring Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour Hersh. And instead of explaining, Facebook sends readers to an article in Norwegian. Watch pic.twitter.com/nN18HovBPR
— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) April 19, 2023
As Shellenberger notes, “Hersh is infinitely more independent than Facebook’s Norwegian fact-checker. The fact-checking organization is a partnership with a Norwegian government-owned media company, NRK, which has a direct self-interest in censoring the story.”
By censoring the article with a dubious ‘fact check’, Facebook is preventing it from reaching a much wider audience, relegating it in the algorithm.
This is yet another example of how the ‘fact-checker industrial complex’ serves to censor legitimate information at the behest of governments by posing as an independent, non-bias actor when in reality it is merely a front for state control.
Facebook’s claim, made a few years ago, that it cannot act as “the arbiter of the truth” for any contentious issue, has been proven dishonest once again.
“Whether Hersh is wrong or right, his reporting should be debated publicly, not censored. Facebook’s actions are antithetical to America’s tradition of free and open debate and its rejection of secretive, authoritarian censorship,” writes Shellenberger.
“The American people have given Facebook broad liability protections under Section 230 that other media companies don’t get. And yet Facebook is acting like a media company, not a platform. As such, Facebook is putting its Section 230 protection at risk. And censoring Hersh may only attract more attention to it.”