28 December, 2021

I Have Two Problems With This

Facebook says it's not liable for false "fact checks" used to censor, because they're “protected opinion" (reclaimthenet.org)

Wait, what?

Back up. Let’s start at the beginning.

John Stossel, a libertarian journalist and author, filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the platform defamed him through a “fact check” label. Facebook added a “misleading” label on a video he posted.

Stossel was censored on Facebook and his work was undermined by the “fact check” that he alleged was defaming his character by falsely accusing him of lying.

Hmm. Okay. And how did Facebook respond? Ah, here’s the part I have trouble with.

In recent court filings, Facebook’s attorneys argued that the “fact check” on the video was an “opinion” and not an actual fact.

Libel law protects opinions from defamatory liability.

We obtained a copy of the filing for you here.

“The labels themselves are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion,” Facebook’s lawyers wrote in the court filings.

So, if they’re “protected opinion” doesn’t that mean they’re not actually fact checks?

And if they’re saying that “protected opinion” is free speech, doesn’t that kind of hurt their argument for censoring Stossel in the first place? If their fact check is “protected opinion”, how in the world does that tag not apply to Stossel’s post?

Just a thought.

Facebook wants the ability to allow fact checkers to accuse their users of lying and censor and ban users based on those “fact checks,” but not to have any liability for accusing those users of lying.

Well, I don’t know if that’s legal, but it’s certainly not just.

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