On Thursday, Facebook sent a message to an internet site accusing it of purveying false information, then warning the site that such behavior could trigger “their distribution reduced and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.”
There was one problem: Facebook used Snopes.com as its fact-checker, and never bothered to check that the site in question, the Babylon Bee, is a satire site.
The story that triggered Facebook’s warning was hilariously titled, “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication,” and featured a picture of a washing machine. It read:
In order to aid the news station in preparing stories for consumption, popular news media organization CNN purchased an industrial-sized washing machine to help its journalists and news anchors spin the news before publication. The custom-made device allows CNN reporters to load just the facts of a given issue, turn a dial to “spin cycle,” and within five minutes, receive a nearly unrecognizable version of the story that’s been spun to fit with the news station’s agenda … At publishing time, CNN had also purchased an industrial-sized trash compactor in order to help compress and distort facts to fit into its preconceived narrative.
CLAIM: CNN invested in an industrial-sized washing machine to help their journalists and news anchors spin the news before publication.
That was enough for Facebook, apparently; despite the fact that Snopes.com also offered an explanation at the bottom of the page where they acknowledged the Babylon Bee was a satire site.
As Craig Silverman of Buzzfeed News noted, as a result of Facebook’s action, Babylon Bee risks being downranked: