Merry Christmas From Lead Stories Despite Erroneous Automated Facebook Flags

Analysis

  • by: Maarten Schenk

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Merry Christmas From Lead Stories Despite Erroneous Automated Facebook Flags

Several people reported to us that Facebook erroneously added a "Missing Context" warning notice to posts wishing people a "Merry Christmas". The notice included a link to our fact check about certain items that were supposedly in the "Stimulus Bill". We did not flag any of these posts as part of our work in Facebook's Third Party Fact Checking Partnership.

Here is an example of one of the incorrectly flagged posts:

missingcontext.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Sat Dec 26 22:20:08 2020 UTC)

The notices were likely the result of a bug in Facebook's automated matching of content with content previously flagged by fact checkers. We have been told by Facebook they are currently working on removing the incorrect flags.

Please be assured that Lead Stories did not flag any of these posts and that we absolutely don't doubt the fact that the people who published these posts were actually having a Merry Christmas.

Updates:

  • 2020-12-26T22:28:33Z 2020-12-26T22:28:33Z
    It appears the issue has now been resolved and the erroneous flags have been removed.

  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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