What’s happening: Fact-checkers from the Associated Press flagged our Instagram post, “The 2020 Election Was Declared ‘Illegal,’” as “false” in an effort to decrease our engagement. Days later, USA Today informed us via email that it was working on a fact-check for the same post. We previously reported that suppression of election claims on social media would ramp up ahead of the midterms.
The post in question: We reported on recent court rulings against election procedures used both during and after the 2020 election, and we linked all our sources. The A.P.’s criticisms of our post were largely based on semantics, arguing that these rulings do not “retroactively” apply to the election and that “ruling something ‘unconstitutional’ is not the same as it being ‘illegal.’” However, the post did contain a factual error that we addressed here.
The fact-checking apparatus: Meta, which owns Instagram, partners with “third-party” fact-checkers from these two outlets and others to crack down on “misinformation.” This allows them to flag Instagram posts, thereby removing the posts from the Explore and hashtag pages, reducing their visibility on feeds and stories. Accounts that are repeatedly fact-checked build up penalties that harm reach, engagement, and follower counts.
Why it matters: These “fact checks” were conducted to make it harder for our audience to see our content, and they succeeded. Mainstream journalists are openly enthusiastic about silencing other journalists and hindering our ability to inform and fulfill our mission. In partnership with Big Tech platforms, which we now know are compromised by the federal government, America’s legacy media are deciding what can and cannot be said about an election.