Facebook is regularly forced to cope with privacy and data problems, but perhaps the largest issue it faces may also be the hardest to solve: dealing with the spread of fake news and malicious content. And the company’s fight got even harder last week when two of its major fact-checking partners, Snopes and the Associated Press, ended their relationships with Facebook.
While both companies didn’t close the door on working with Facebook again in the future, it was clear from reading between the lines in Snopes’ statement that it thinks Facebook’s fake news problem may be impossible to solve. The fact-checking organization said that it must “determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive.” While that’s a diplomatic answer, representatives of the company have been unafraid to bash Facebook in the past for its lack of action in fighting spam.
“They’ve essentially used us for crisis PR,” Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski told The Guardian last year. “They’re not taking anything seriously. They are more interested in making themselves look good and passing the buck… They clearly don’t care.”
While Facebook reiterated its commitment to stopping the spread of fake content, that task just got significantly harder without the help of two of its most prominent partners.