Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said Thursday that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told him that a fact-checker acted in a biased way when it fact-checked a pro-life group in August.
Zuckerberg reportedly made the admission during a closed-door meeting with Hawley, who has repeatedly criticized Facebook for what he says is monopolizing user data. Hawley also said after the meeting that the company should sell off Facebook-owned Instagram, along with other entities.
“He admitted to me on the LiveAction issue … He said they made a mistake, that ‘there was clearly bias.’ Those were his words — he said there was clearly bias in the LiveAction decision, that they were wrong to have censored LiveAction,” he said, referring to his discussion with Zuckerberg about the pro-life group.
Hawley added: “There was a problem with the supposed independent fact-checker, that he’s very concerned about it, and in his words — ‘an issue that they have struggled with for years.'”
Thread, 1/2: Zuckerberg admitting behind closed doors that @Facebook was wrong to censor me & @LiveAction & that there was clearly bias in their damaging Fact Check is not enough. If Facebook wants to make this right, they need to publicly apologize for this wrongdoing. https://t.co/cLiU9WTD48
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 19, 2019
Facebook provided some context to Hawley’s comment.
“I want to be 100% clear that they are not Facebook’s fact checkers,” Facebook Policy Communication Manager Andy Stone told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They’re independent,” he said, referring to the International Fact-Checking Network, which was responsible for the fact check of LiveAction.
The Aug. 30 fact check, published in Health Feedback, targeted an Aug. 9 video that included the statement “abortion is never medically necessary.” The fact-checker also dinged a separate video shared by LiveAction, featuring Dr. Kendra Kolb also saying “abortion is never medically necessary.”
Jennifer Gunter, author of “The Vagina Bible” and an abortionist, is listed in an updated version of the fact check’s Read More section. She has openly criticized LiveAction and Lila Rose on Twitter, calling Rose “a forced birther who knows nothing about medical care.”
A Sept. 11 update of the fact check states the group “added a link to Dr. Jen Gunter’s article under the Read More section, which explains why an abortion may sometimes be a preferred procedure to a C-section depending on the mother’s medical condition and the fetus’ gestational age.”
Gunter said in a tweet Aug. 31 that Rose is “ignorant and evil.”
Gunter told DCNF reporter Mary Margaret Olohan “fuck you forced birth propaganda site trying to kill women and doctors” in a previous request for comment on the issue.
The first version of the fact check cited only abortionists Daniel Grossman, and Robyn Schickler in the Scientists’ Feedback section.
IFCN did not immediately respond to the DNCF’s request for comment. Gunter has not responded to a request for comment through her publisher Ann Pryor at Kensington Books.
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Image: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.