(John Ransom, Headline USA) The prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) is considering all options, including a lawsuit against Facebook parent, Meta, for “fact-checks” that the medical research publisher consider little better than misguided opinion.
“The fact-checking industry, empowered by the vast resources of social media giants, is under sustained scrutiny amid a possible legal battle among the British Medical Journal, Facebook owner Meta and a contractor it pays to flag purported COVID-19 misinformation,” reported Just the News.
In a peer-reviewed investigative article, BMJ said that a contractor for Pfizer, Ventavia, was suspected of having “poor clinical trial research practices” during COVID vaccine trials after a whistleblower came forward, according to BMJ’s rebuttal to the Facebook “fact-check.”
When the story appeared on Facebook, the fact-checkers contracted with the social media giant flagged it and warned users that it contained false or incomplete information.
“Facebook’s ‘independent fact-checker’ doesn’t like the wording of the article by the BMJ,” said one user, a retired dentist from Israel, who got a warning from Facebook according to the BMJ. “And if I don’t delete my post, they are threatening to make my posts less visible.”
BMJ said that the worries about Facebook go beyond just that Facebook got it wrong when it claimed a fully fact-checked journalism piece, which raised legitimate concerns about the conduct of clinical trials for vaccines that have been administered over 317 million times in the US alone, was false.
“The real question is, why is Facebook acting in this way?” asked BMJ editor-in-chief, Kamran Abbasi, according to HIFA.org.
“What is driving its world view? Is it ideology? Is it commercial interests? Is it incompetence?” Abbasi said. “Users should be worried that, despite presenting itself as a neutral social media platform, Facebook is trying to control how people think under the guise of ‘fact checking.’”
BMJ is so vexed that when asked if the science publication was contemplating legal action against Facebook or the Facebook contractor, BMJ spokesperson Emma Dickinson replied in an email that “all available options” are being considered, reported Just the News.
The contactor in question dismissed the threat of a lawsuit, noting that the contractor prevailed in previous legal challenges by conservatives Candace Owens and Gateway Pundit publisher Jim Hoft, said Just the News.
But the UK has more stringent libel laws that favor complainants more than in the US, especially if the complainants are non-profits like the BMJ.