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Thursday 18 June 2020

Stop Funding Fake News Pushes Fake News

Still we do not know who is behind Stop Funding Fake News, a site much promoted in the past by the likes of Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley, except that it is somehow linked to the Centre for Countering Digital Hate. Both are recent Twitter presences; SFFN arrived in February last year, with the CCDH following two months later.
Moreover, some of the actors against whom SFFN has urged action have not been promoting Fake News, but merely having opinions which others, like Ms Riley, appear not to like. And that is where SFFN has gone beyond what it says on the tin, to attempting censorship. So it should surprise no-one that SFFN is not universally popular.
But the campaign has managed to join with the NBC News Verification Center to advocate for defunding of sites peddling hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories, and this week announced “Zero Hedge has made millions pushing dangerous conspiracy theories about #coronavirus & Fake News about #BlackLivesMatter via [Google Ads]. After [Kevin Brennan MP] put our research to [Google] and [NBC Verification Center] approached them, they finally took action”. And they had another scalp to add.
And thanks to our investigation with @NBCVerified, [Google Ads] also took action to defund [The Federalist], a racist Fake News site pushing misinformation about #BlackLivesMatter”. But here a problem entered, as Google themselves pointed out. Google Comms told “The Federalist was never demonetized”. There was more.
We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section … Our policies do not allow ads to run against dangerous or derogatory content, which includes comments on sites, and we offer guidance and best practices to publishers on how to comply … As the comment section has now been removed, we consider this matter resolved and no action will be taken”. So where does that leave SFFN?
It means Stop Funding Fake News has been caught pushing Fake News. The relevant comment from Google Comms has been pointed out to them in response to their assertion, but at 1115 hours today, the SFFN Tweet, and the claims it made, were still there, unamended. That’s not good enough, especially for a campaign that claims to be against Fake News. SFFN should delete and post an apology. And do it now.
Google Ads did not take action to defund The Federalist: it took action to have The Federalist remove what Google Comms called “dangerous or derogatory comment” - in other words, it took action to ensure the site adhered to its Ts and Cs.

SFFN has suffered a serious loss of Stateside credibility over this issue, especially with fans of First Amendment rights. That means it’s alienated a lot of people. Sad, really.
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1 comment:

The Toffee (597) said...

Hasn't riley got form for this sort of thing? (Oh, yes indeed)

...Something to do with Man Utd last year IIRC. Sure it was you wrote it up.