How Does Facebook “Fact Checking” Work?

Media ecology is the study of how we consume media generally and how it affects us. Media are not neutral. The medium affects the message. As Marshall McLuhan (1911–80) said, the medium is the message. The same message delivered by video (e.g., television, YouTube) is delivered in one style and in quite a different style when delivered via audio (e.g., radio, podcast). This is because of the nature of the medium. People relate to video differently than they relate to audio thus the medium affects the message.

The message is also affected by our new media landscape. Long gone are the days when the so-called mainstream media was dominated by professional journalists committed to some sort of ideological neutrality when gathering and reporting the news. That began to change before the internet (after Watergate), before every news outlet became essentially a loosely edited editorial website (what we used to call blogs). Today the line between opinion, analysis, and reporting is often so blurred that they have become one thing. It is increasingly rare when one finds a reporter or news outlet trying to do what is known as “straight” reporting, where the reporter consciously refrains from trying to shape the story to achieve a desired outcome. More often than not today, reporters openly, shamelessly advocate on social media and in their “reporting” for policy outcomes.

There is yet another layer of difficulty in sifting through the “news” today: much of it is filtered to us through social media companies. Big Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google) controls much of what we hear and see and they have an agenda. That agenda is not to deliver the news in a non-partisan way but to shape policy outcomes.

This is also true in education, by the way. Many public teachers are taught in university that their vocation is not really to teach grammar, logic, and rhetoric (“reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic) but to inculcate into children, even very young children, certain social, political, and cultural outcomes. This change in the sense of vocation helps to explain how, e.g., librarians, whose job it used to be to introduce children to the wonderful world of books, seems now to introduce them to the bizarre world of transgender drag queens. In other words, because politics has become everything (it is the new religion for many in the West), everything has become politicized.

How does the politicization of Big Social Media affect how it mediates news and analysis to you? It works by filtering, removing, or labeling as false what they do not think you should believe. How does that process work? Sharyl Attkisson, one of a few old-school journalists still working, reports:

The HB has been covering the intersection of political correctness with “journalism” and Big Social Media for several years. Check out the resources for more information and analysis.

Here is the report of which Facebook does not approve: The Epoch times on the Origins of Covid19


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Thanks for highlighting The Epoch Times. It is the most awesome(ist) newspaper out there. My world changed dramatically in December when I stumbled on this company. Now a active subscriber, I feel I have a much better grasp of the details and particulars of what is happening in our world. I love podcasts like Attkisson, but having a daily newspaper is so much better for details and for sharing information with others.

  2. I forgot to mention that Epoch Time’s documentary on Covid is really interesting and good. They stopped short of coming to definitive conclusions because more information is needed, but it is a good primer on some of the science. Josh, the primary reporter, does not believe at this time that the virus is proven to be a manmade bioweapon. But the Facebook actions are more telling, since they seem to be trying to stop this line of thinking – they do seem to be in the CCP’s pocket like WHO and so much of the MSM.

  3. Postman as a student of McLuhan’s insights, in his Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) is even more pointed in regard to the difference between audio and video; the word heard and read vs. what is seen. Though he doesn’t mention it, the Reformation was all about the preaching of the Word over the visual drama of the Roman mass, along with the medieval morality and passion plays.
    Yet what we are seeing today is a return to an emphasis on the visual in mass media.
    As a consequence, what cannot be pictured then is off the table for discussion; materialism has the nod and our larger ability to reason and conceptualize as creatures made in the image of God is stunted and it becomes much easier to hornswoggle the population.
    IOW the Big Lie/demagoguery.
    Which is exactly what is going on with Fakebook, Dimwitter and Goolag however sincere the social technicians are in “moderating” the discussion and “curating” the news, all to the end of preventing “hate speech”, an Orwellian category if there ever was, however willfully and criminally oblivious they are to it.

    Not that the way hasn’t been made straight for all this in American education. Samuel Blumenthal, the great promoter of phonics for reading, makes the charge the clearest that I have seen in this article,/a>; that public government education in America was socialist by intent and nature from the very beginning.

    As far as the Epoch Times goes, it is funded to my knowledge by the Falun Gong, whose adherents in China are executed as dissidents by the CCP through the gruesome practice of organ harvesting for Western customers. Which is to say, it definitely has an axe to grind.

    That said and regardless of speculation about biowarfare. there can be no question that the bio stat models – even with mitigation included – that the CDC relied on, grossly overestimated the corona virus, to the point that the authors have retracted and downgraded their own numbers, even though they are still too high.

    Contrary to how it has been overbilled, the corona virus is not the Second Coming of the Black Plague, but rather a rerun of the ‘08 Big Bank/Business Bailout, Congressman (R) Thos. Massie of Kentucky to the contrary.

    IOW God can and does send the peoples and nations strong delusions, in this instance a moral, political and financial crisis on account of mass media induced hysteria over a novel seasonal virus.

    But if God has not given Christians the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), maybe we need to start acting like it.

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