Candace Owens has declared war on fact-checkers.
“Facebook is trying to delete me,” she said in a recent video. “Big Tech is trying to delete us, our movement. We must stop them.”
I first saw the video on Facebook, the platform Owens claims is trying to delete her. Four days later, the social media platform had yet to remove the post. My guess is it’s still there.
If Facebook is trying to delete Owens, it’s failing.
Of course, Owens isn’t much worried about facts. The website PolitiFact lists four fact checks for the conservative commentator.
In June, she claimed Black Lives Matter was not a charity. That same month, she accused George Soros of funding the violent protests in Minneapolis.
In April, she claimed “everyone is only dying of coronavirus now,” and the previous April, she called the Republican Party’s Southern strategy a myth.
PolitiFact rated all four claims as false.
Owens, though, insists the fact-checkers are motivated by political bias, and she cites an example.
“Weeks ago, @Facebook censored a post of mine which truthfully stated that @JoeBiden is NOT the President-elect,” Owens tweeted. “So I got lawyers involved. Conclusion? @PolitiFact uncensored the post & admitted that they LIED by rating my post false. The fact-checkers are lying for Democrats.”
Actually, that’s not what happened. I contacted PolitiFact and got a response from Aaron Sharockman, the organization’s executive director.
PolitiFact does not check the facts in every post, he said, but it sometimes issues ratings for multiple posts based on research it has already done.
“Through that marking process, we mistakenly rated a piece of content from Ms. Owens with a related but not specific enough story,” Sharockman said. “After we were made aware of our error, we removed the rating, which triggered Facebook to remove its penalty.”
The organization did not confess to lying.
“None of this speaks to the accuracy of Ms. Owens’ content,” Sharockman said. “We did not analyze it as part of our fact-checking efforts. What we did was correct a technical error.”
I tried to get him to talk about Owens’ claims of bias, but he wouldn’t bite. PolitiFact goes out of its way to avoid getting down in the mud.
“Our core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting and clear writing,” the organization says on its website. “The reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy.”
PolitiFact formed in 2007 with the goal of checking claims made during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“From the beginning, PolitiFact focused on looking at specific statements made by politicians and rating them for accuracy,” the organization says on its website. “PolitiFact is run by the editors and journalists who make up the PolitiFact team. No one tells us what to write about or how to rate statements. We do so independently, using our news judgment.”
Owens has a different motivation. She’s trying to raise money for her fight against fact-checkers.
“Everyone PLEASE take 5 minutes of your day to watch this video – and more importantly, to SHARE it,” she said on that social media post. “I have been warning everybody for months about what these Facebook ‘fact-checkers’ represent, and I am pursuing them legally because I knew it would culminate into this extraordinary moment in American History: a sitting President of the United States has been censored. None of us are safe.”
Even before Donald Trump came along with his barrage of lies, the fight for truth on social media was never ending.
PolitiFact is on the right side of that fight. Candace Owens is not.