October 25, 2021


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John Stosell has filed a defamation suit against Facebook for the fact-check label

2 min read

Former TV journalist John Stassell is seeking at least 2 2 million in damages from Facebook in a lawsuit filed against social media giant, alleging that the agency defamed him by attaching fact-checking labels to two videos posted about climate change.

In a statement DiversityA Facebook spokesman said: “We believe this case is unqualified and we will strongly defend ourselves against the allegations.”

According to Stosell’s case, last year he posted two short video reports on Facebook where he “interviewed experts on climate change.”

In a video of the “official fuel fire” in California in the wake of the 2020 fires, Facebook and its veracity partners “falsely blamed Stasel for what he never did and called the content ‘misleading’ and ‘missing topic’ on that basis.” The statement said Stosel’s video “discovered a scientific hypothesis that” although climate change is not suspected of contributing to forest fires, it was not the primary cause of the 2020 California wildfires. ” According to the lawsuit, Stosell said he never claimed that “forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change,” which was part of Facebook’s fact-check.

In the second video, “Are We Wrong?”, Facebook added a “partial lie” / “true mistake” label. The video described Stosell’s claims as “environmentalist”, including “the hurricane is getting stronger, sea level rise poses a catastrophic threat and people will be unable to cope with the consequences.” Stassell claims that Facebook’s fact-check did not actually challenge any information in the video, and he argues that the company’s fact-check process is “nothing more than an excuse … to excuse users, especially when defendants disagree with scientific opinions.” Has been published. ”

The lawsuit alleges that Stosell was not given a meaningful opportunity to challenge this unilateral decision on the authenticity of his journalism.

Stassell, who worked at ABC News for more than 25 years before hosting a weekly news show on Fox Business, claims that since Facebook added the fact-checking label to his “alarmism video” in April 2021, advertising revenue from his videos has almost declined. Half, about $ 10,000 per month to $ 5,500 per month.

Stossell’s lawsuit seeks at least “1 million in” general, special and compensatory damages “and at least $ 1 million in exemplary and punitive damages.

Two fact-checking agencies, Science Feedback and Climate Feedback, have also been named as defendants in Stassell’s allegations. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of San Jose, California. A copy of the complaint is available at this link.

In an earlier response posted by Climate Response to Stosel’s complaint about the fact-check rating in the “Government Fired Fires” video, the agency wrote, Misunderstandings about how fact-checking partners work on Facebook: Given that many content posted on Facebook may have the same claim separately, we do not need to create a separate claim review article for each post we post. What we have done is representative of our claim in each post, which is true in this case.

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