On Tuesday, Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari reported that Facebook, the site once dubbed the “world’s most dangerous censor,” is now displaying a link to a misleading Wikipedia entry next to all links to Breitbart.com. According to Bokhari, the link posted by Facebook describes Breitbart as “a ‘far-right site’ that publishes ‘falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and intentionally misleading stories.'”
The social network, which has been under pressure from Democrats and the mainstream media since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, has added a button marked “about this article” next to all posts linking to Breitbart News pieces on the site. Currently only viewable for American users, the button brings up a pop-up screen that displays Wikipedia’s misleading description of Breitbart News.
The Wikipedia entry, he further said, “repeats several anti-Breitbart News obsessions popular in the corporate and left-wing media: that the site has ‘misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist content,’ and a single throwaway comment from former Executive Chairman Steve Bannon describing the site as a ‘platform for the alt-right.’ Breitbart News has consistently rejected the alt-right label, which has been applied to the site by the mainstream media.”
Making matters worse, he said, mainstream outlets like CNN and the New York Times are given much better treatment. This is quite similar to a “fact-check” feature Google recently rolled out. The search engine, however, ended the practice after the Daily Caller reported the site’s biased and false descriptions of conservative outlets.
Facebook’s feature, by the way, has been in the works for a while. Last October, Fortune reported:
The social media giant said on Thursday that it is testing a new feature that gives users background information about news outlets whose articles are often shared online. Specifically, Facebook is testing a button that appears as a lower-case “i” next to articles in the News Feed that pops up information scraped from the publisher’s Facebook page and from Wikipedia.
The feature lets Facebook users get more context about news sources without having to leave the social network, Facebook said. The button provides a boilerplate explanation about the publisher, along with additional stories related to the specific news article and information about who is reading the article on Facebook, and where.
But, Bokhari said, there’s a problem with using Wikipedia:
Wikipedia is notorious for its bias, editorial unaccountability, and unreliable articles. The online encyclopedia publicly claims that “anyone” can edit it, yet in reality, it is controlled by a small cabal of anonymous, unaccountable, politically partisan editors who have purged rival editors who do not align with their ideology. Wikipedia editors have been caught trying to remove citations showing scientific support for ex-Google employee James Damore’s memo on ideological diversity. They have also tried to downplay the far-left “Antifa” movement’s links to violence, and protected CNN’s page from edits that emphasized the network’s controversies.
Breitbart said it reached out to Facebook for comment. Bokhari did not say if the conservative site is considering legal action.
The report, by the way, comes out just days before CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
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