On May 9, 2021, the CCP-affiliated Facebook fact checking partner Lead Stories marked a National File article about Daunte Wright, who was shot dead by a police officer who mistakenly thought she drew her taser after he refused to cooperate with police and fled the scene in his vehicle. However, Lead Stories did not actually mention National File by name in the article, and instead focused their entire fact check on a video made by Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk.
On April 11, news broke that a black man, Daunte Wright, was shot by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 15 minutes from the geographic center of Minneapolis and 10 minutes from where Black Live Matter martyr George Floyd was arrested. Soon after, police issued a statement explaining that Wright was wanted for an outstanding warrant, and died as he attempted to flee the scene.
— Abby Simons (@AJillSimons) April 12, 2021
Lead Stories’ main contention is that Charlie Kirk described Wright as wanted for aggravated battery. In fact, Wright was wanted for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, not aggravated battery. Thus, Kirk was incorrect when saying why Wright was wanted, but not incorrect to say Wright was wanted by police. In the days immediately after the shooting, before facts were made clear, National File published an article mistakenly saying that Wright was wanted for aggravated battery as well, though this publication did not quote Kirk or include his video. In fact, National File quoted The Daily Mail, a reputable outlet, which has since modified its story to explain that Wright had appeared in court for the aggravated battery charge, but was wanted for another case. We apologize to the Wright family for misstating the exact charge Daunte was wanted for at the time of the botched arrest that led to his death.
In 2020, Mark Sidney, the co-founder of the social networking site Spreely, explained to National File that Facebook has created a financial incentive for Lead Stories – which was founded by a former CNN employee – and other fact checkers to fact check content and rate it false based on arcane or subjective information. Sidney told National File, “Any time they fact check an article, Facebook adds a disclaimer that allows the fact checker to obtain the reach and distribution of the original content and redirect the traffic to their site,” added Sidney, “Which sustains itself off ad revenue based off the amount of traffic that they receive.”
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Author: Tom Pappert
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