Why A Company In The Netherlands Has Stopped To Help Facebook Fact-Check Content

To Help why A company In The Netherlands Has Ceased to be Facebook fact-Check content

NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Gert-Jaap Hoekman from Nu.nl to help why the company has stopped Facebook fact-check content. Nu.nl was Facebook the last fact-checker in the Netherlands.


Facebook says it is based on more than 50 fact-checking-partners-around-the-world-flag-posts, who spread untruths. It just lost its only fact-checking a partner in the Netherlands. A Dutch news site called Nu.nl says the should apply the same rules to contributions from politicians, such as other Facebook content. This goes against the policy of Facebook announced this fall.

The news site’s editor-in-chief Gert-Jaap Hoekman joins us now from Utrecht. Hi. Welcome to the program.

GERT-JAAP HOEKMAN: Hi. Thank you for the invitation.

SHAPIRO: why have you stopped fact-checking on Facebook?

HOEKMAN: this is The direct reason why we quit was that Facebook emphasized that political speech is a part of this program. And for us, that was also a pretty big problem.

SHAPIRO: apart from the political speech, there is still a whole world of things you can fact-check. Why not just say, we do not agree with your position, but we find this to be an important role that we will do so on?

HOEKMAN: Yes, good question. Well, if we I mean, this -, maybe we should go back a little in time. When the program is launched in the Netherlands, this was only after the trump choice in the United States And the whole reason why this program was brought in, first and foremost, about the things, the damage to democracy or elections. was So, that was one of the reasons why we got involved in this program that we see now, we wanted to see if this problem also happened in the Netherlands. And if so, we wanted to help to solve the problem.

Almost immediately, we found out that this is not really the case. A lot of stuff that we were fact-checking it was what you might call urban myths – a lot of health issues, a lot of…

SHAPIRO: when you say, that really is the case, don’t you think it was political disinformation, or simply, that is what you have been check called on to did -?

HOEKMAN: In the beginning of the political misinformation was not.


HOEKMAN: There were a lot of really – well, shall we say, creative cure for cancer, which are also, I mean, well the fact check and can be harmful if people read. But they don’t really harm the democracy.

SHAPIRO: I understand. It was a story that she actually said: eating meat is harmful for the environment. And you have said, is wrong to eat meat is not, in fact, have a negative impact on the environment.

HOEKMAN: it’s True, but that was, like, years later. Only at the beginning of it went to other things. But we think that, as you say, well, there are a whole lot of stuff you fact-check. But if you have a fundamental problem with something like that, then I think you should at least have, well, a good conversation about it with Facebook, we had. But we are only in disagreement on this matter.

SHAPIRO: So let me describe Facebook’s position here. You don’t say it is Facebook’s role is to, quote, “referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech, reach your audience and the subject of public debate and control.” How do you respond?

HOEKMAN: We agree actually. But we say that if a politician is distributed incorrectly Information that has nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of political speech. This is only fake news, basically. Now, let me give you an example. It was not a political body, in the Netherlands, the marriages accused other political parties in the vote, pro-child, that was simply not the case. For us, this has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It is only fake news. And if you spread that, I think, is harmful.

And I think, as journalists, they did have a role to well-to-check that the things we do on our platform. But if Facebook does not allow us to do the same on your platform, that – I mean, that is your choice. But then you have to find a different partner.

SHAPIRO: We have seen a huge increase in the world of false information in social media. Finally, do you think that the kind of fact-checking that has done for your organization, can ever really solve this problem?

HOEKMAN: Difficult question, to be honest, since fake news in the Netherlands was really a very big problem. And actually, Facebook have shared some of the effects that we had our work. And we see indeed that the fact-checking got posts are shared less and less. So it plays a role. But it’s just us, right? So it was only a fact-checker, who do the work, which is obviously against many of the Facebook users. I don’t think you can win that – in this sense.

SHAPIRO: This is Gert-Jaap Hoekman, editor-in-chief of the Dutch news-Website Nu.nl.

thank you for talking to us today.

HOEKMAN: Thank you.


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Released on Fri, 29 Nov 2019 21:24:00 +0000

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