Facebook has been vilified by experts, politicians and users around the world for its role in the spread of fake news stories. The social media giant has vowed to do more to fight the problem, but as nonprofit group Media Matters for America reported this week, one of the biggest creators of fake news on the site is officially verified by Facebook.
The verified Facebook page, called American News (or The Patriot Review), shares dozens of objectively false stories a day. Some of the content it has posted includes stories that Barack Obama wants to add his likeness to Mount Rushmore, that congress has approved free cars for all welfare recipients, and that schools are refusing to teach about the Holocaust in history classes for fear of offending Muslim students.
Facebook’s verification guidelines are actually quite simple. A page only needs to have a publicly listed phone number or official name and address that match public records. However, Media Matters could not find any of that information for American News, leading the nonprofit to question why Facebook verified it in the first place.
“Either Facebook has information about American News that is not available for the average user who may encounter the page or Facebook has deviated from its current, perhaps inadequate verification procedure,” Media Matters wrote in a blog post. “Whatever the case, the social media giant clearly has more work to do in addressing its fake news problem; without action, it remains complicit in American News’ deceptive fake news tactics.”
Facebook might be dedicated to fighting fake news, but as reports like this one show, the site still has a long way to go before the problem is gone completely.