The Problem with Facebook "fact checkers"? They are giving their OPINIONS
I posted a video to Facebook that was an investigative journalism piece about the origin of the coronavirus. Basically, it suggests that it is unlikely that the virus originated in a wet market and that it's more plausible and worth further investigation that it came from the Institute of Virology or the CDC very near the market.
Not long after I posted that to FB, it gets a notice that it contains false information checked by independent fact-checkers.
When you click on See Why, it brings you to this article: https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/scientific-evidence-indicates-virus-that-causes-covid-19-infection-is-of-natural-origin-not-the-result-of-human-engineering/?fbclid=IwAR2TLF3JqG3sV8nY0n-G81ImoYJtYj5aiQTFyOr0kIqf-j4W1oTgjq2A8R8
The problem is, the "fact-checker", Danielle E. Anderson, is not independent at all. She has a significant conflict of interest. She has worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While that does give her a first-hand account of what goes on there, she is very quick to defend it. It sounds like she says there's no way someone could have made a mistake and leaked something because they are scientists and they are strict about safety.
The biggest problem I have is that the first thing she says in the Reviewer's Feedback portion is "To provide context for my opinion..."
Read that again. "MY OPINION"!
I'm sorry, I thought this was a FACT CHECK? Not an opinion check. Opinions do not equal facts in the real world. This is 3rd grade knowledge.
The other problem is that this article is a blanket response to anything suggesting the virus came from WIH. It calls out other articles for spreading misinformation, but not this particular video. Their response is, "The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ([email protected]) and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife."
Great. So it originated in wildlife. The thing is, the video that they claim is false actually agrees with them. They confirm and show the published findings in the video that it is 88% similar to other bat-derived SARS-like coronaviruses while also saying it jumped species. The only thing they question is why the amino acids in the E-protein has a 100% similarity to a virus spread among bats. They say it's damn near impossible for a 100% similarity when a virus jumps species naturally. But of course the fact-check article didn't address that question.
The last troubling thing about all this that I'll mention is this quote in the fact-checking article by Danielle Anderson, "The (New York Post) article claims that bats are not sold at the Wuhan market, so they could not be the source of infection. The author chooses to imply that these animals are not sold illegally at the market, yet has no problem implying that lab animals are illegally sold. Overall, this is an appalling article."
Notice she doesn't dispute their claim. Probably because she doesn't know if it's true or not. She just tries to throw it back in their face without doing any actual fact-checking.
If Facebook continues with their fact-checking policy, who is going to fact-check the fact-checkers?