OPINION: Automated Fact Checkers are Ruining Our Evaluation Process

 Snopes, one of the more well-known fact checkers.

Snopes, one of the more well-known fact checkers.

               It is a difficult task to accurately evaluate and consider all of the involved viewpoints in a political article. In previous eras, it was common to believe the text given in the daily paper word for word, but in today, everything must be scrutinized on a very close level to determine if any inaccuracies, falsehoods, or unnecessary bias is involved in the way that the facts (or lack thereof) are presented. As such, many websites have rushed to fill this need, such as PolitiFact or Snopes. The problem is solved, it seems, as neutral parties deconstruct not only the media, but as well as statements made by political candidates and other general falsehoods (”whether or not a man’s eye was slashed by a ‘fidget spinner’” are not uncommon to see in the fact check world). “Fear not,” declares the fact checker world to the American, “We will take it from here.”

 

A new fact checker has stepped up to the plate, it seems, as a newly developed Facebook Messenger chatbot has entered the fact checking world. Meet “NewsBot,” a bot that vows to solve the problem once and for all. Not only does it check for the article’s validity, but it also shows what bias the article takes, from a left to right spectrum. As NewsBot is adjusted more and more each day to more accurately check for bias, the creators have stated that they hoped that Facebook would change their stance on news to a real fact checking website. Ash Bhat, one of the two creators, said: “Facebook should be proactive and make it visible that they’re fighting fake news.”

Is it wise to allow the third parties to take over this job? The opinion of the author is a resounding “no.” Why allow a third party site that has proven to be biased (take PolitiFact during the 2016 presidential election, for instance, declaring some of Trump’s honest quotes to be lies, where in other parts it declares debunked myths from Clinton to be truths.) to check for bias in the articles you read? Even worse, giving that authority to a machine? Who runs the machine? Who built it? Is it open source (meaning, can Americans look at the mechanics of the machine to check to see if it is really honestly accurate)? Who is tied to it? These are just a few questions Americans will have to ask themselves of any robotic fact checker or third party when they look to find truth. The traditional American only has to ask themselves one thing when searching for the truth: “Where is the primary source?” If Americans (not just conservatives) ask themselves this and find the truths hidden behind pages and links, all the way back to real recordings and documents from the persons of interest themselves, they will no longer have to take leaps of faith to find truth in the articles they depend on for their daily information.