On November 26, Alan Duke, co-founder of “Lead Stories,” issued a “False information” fact check violation on four of our top conservative Facebook pages, including our 100 Percent Fed Up Facebook page with almost 1.7 million followers.
The “fake news” violation was for an article I wrote (See article HERE) about Adam Rahuba, a self-described Antifa leader, who was banned from Twitter after he threatened President Trump and his followers with this tweet:
Duke has no background in fact-checking; however, his resume does include a 26-year stint at CNN as an entertainment/crime stories reporter.
I wrote to Mr. Duke on the day that I received his fake news “fact check” violation. Here is my email to the Lead Stories co-founder that includes a reference to his snarky remark about misspelling “Pittsburgh” ( I accidentally dropped the “h”) as part of his fact check violation:
I woke up this Thanksgiving morning to find yet another fact check violation from Lead Stories attached to an article I wrote. Here is a link to the article in question:
Pittsburgh Area Antifa Leader Tweets Warning To Trump: “We are armed…If you do not concede by Sunday at noon, we will begin to block roads in conservative areas”
Here is the link to your fact check article.
The entire fact check violation is based on a SINGLE article by the Washington Post that calls Rahuba “a “Bernie Sanders supporter” who “has provoked the far right for years using online aliases, sometimes with dangerous results.”
First of all, I don’t read the Washington Post, as I don’t consider them a credible source for news, so their article obviously escaped me. Secondly, if Twitter took Rahuba’s tweet seriously enough to delete his account, then I’m pretty sure he crossed the line of what the left considers “humor” by threatening the President of the United States and conservatives in the Pittsburgh area. I, along with millions of others don’t find any humor when real people on Twitter threaten “conservative areas” in America that armed Antifa members plan to block off streets and that they will not be able to go to the grocery stores to feed their families.
America is already on edge. There is nothing funny or clever about making public threats on social media against half of America or against the President of the United States. These are the kinds of threats our US Secret Service takes very seriously (as they should). The fact that you are flagging this post on our Facebook page is disturbing.
Our experience with Lead Stories has been that they fact check us far more than anyone else on FB. In fact, until this year, we could count on one hand how many fact check violations we received from all FB fact-checkers. For whatever reason, the number of pre and post-election fact checks against our page has been off the charts, leading us to believe it is your intent to keep our message from being seen on Facebook, as it is common knowledge that fact-checkers have the power with each fact check to diminish the reach to each of our pro-Trump pages and our pro-Trump followers.
You have always been quick to remove the fact checks when they’ve been appealed. This fact check, however, is different, as I have no appeal because it is disturbing on so many levels. The fact check against our page goes beyond fact-checking and crosses the line by mocking me (the author) for misspelling Pittsburgh (which I have corrected). This error was missed at the time of publication, but I am not sure why it was necessary to include it in your fact check? Is this something Facebook pays you to do (mock conservatives on their page for misspelling words?), because I can assure you, it happens every day in a variety of publications, including some of those with millions of readers.
From your article: The article misspells the name of Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh as Pittsburg. Don’t bother emailing Lead Stories about that, since we are fact checkers, not spell checkers.
I would appreciate you removing this fact check violation immediately. I don’t think threatening the President of the United States that if he doesn’t concede the election by a certain date, that armed Antifa members will take to the streets is remotely entertaining. You may consider him a “prankster,” as the anti-Trump Washington Post identifies him as such, but I can assure you that most Americans consider his remarks to be those made by a domestic terrorist. I shudder to think how this story would have been framed if such a threat was made by a conservative to Joe Biden or his supporters.
Please remove this flag on all four of our FB pages immediately.
Instead of admitting he made a mistake by defending the indefensible tweet by Adam Rahuba, who was removed from Twitter following his threatening tweet, Alan Duke responded:
First of all, the article we flagged in our debunk read “Pittburg”, not Pittsburgh, so that is what we fact checked. We are not spell checkers, but we did note this in our article. YOU MISSPELLED IT, not us.
We archived your original.
You fixed YOUR spelling, but then pretended it was OUR mistake. I don’t appreciate your deception. We have always been fast and thorough in responding to your appeals. We expect the same professionalism in return.
Yes, the guy who’s trying to defend a vile threat against the President of the United States and his followers, made by someone who refers to himself as an Antifa leader, really said he didn’t appreciate my “deception.”
Here’s how an iron-fisted “fact-checker,” with WAY too much power responds to the owner of one of the top conservative Facebook pages:
Now, fix your storywith a PROPER correction, noting that you revised the article because LEAD STORIES fact checked it and found it was FALSE.
Let me know when this is done and I will review it to consider a rating revision.
Also, the Washington Post story is not the only thing our conclusion is based on. We know who Adam is. He is a hoaxster well known for such pranks. He is not antifa.
(For the record, Alan—“Antifa” is capitalized.)
Again, we responded to Alan’s ridiculous attempt to play cover for the person who tweeted this message:
If the article is being flagged because the guy who made the threat is perceived as a funny guy or a “hoaxter” in leftist circles (and was removed from Twitter over his threat), I would question why you are coming to his defense and asking me to protect his reputation? In any real world scenario, this person would not be found to be funny. I’m wondering if you would come to the defense of a conservative “hoaxter” if they threatened to set set fire to Joe Biden’s Delaware neighborhood if he doesn’t stop pretending to be the “President-elect?” Neither scenario is funny, and calling someone a “hoaxter” who makes such a threat against a leader of either party or his supporters, is shameful.Please remove these violations from all of our pages.
The 26-year CNN veteran replied:
The post made a false claim that an antics leadermade a threat. Please let me know when a correction is made.
Facebook has given these clowns way too much power. Part of the power includes the ability to destroy conservative Facebook pages on their platform by taking away their followers’ ability to see their content.
Today, a Facebook user shared a screenshot of a warning she received from Facebook when she tried to “Like” our 100 Percent Fed Up Facebook page. “Before you like this page,” Facebook warns, you may want to review the “type of content they usually share” before it appears in your newsfeed.
Is this warning because of fake fact-check warnings, or is this just a way of keeping their users from seeing conservative content Facebook doesn’t want them to see?
Above their multiple unfounded or questionable “fact check” violations, Facebook has warned us of reduced distribution.
If a Facebook user happens to get through their firewall and make it to our 100 Percent Fed Up page on their own, Facebook is now warning them against “liking” our page? Facebook has adopted a curious strategy of dissuading users from “liking” our page considering only two years ago; they gladly accepted tens of thousands of advertising dollars from us for a specific ad campaign to reach like-minded users, asking them to “like” our page so they could see our content in their newsfeed.
We’re not the only conservatives calling out Duke for his ludicrous “fact checks,” and the power Facebook has given him to literally destroy the traffic to Facebook pages with one hit piece. High-profile conservative Candace Owens is currently suing Lead Stories for defamation.
Our freedoms are being stripped away. The overlords of Big Tech are determining what Americans can and cannot say, share, like, and post. Support our legal efforts today as we fight back against Facebook’s fact-checkers, confronting those who are suppressing free speech, thought, and expression across our great country.
We have begun pursuing two of Facebook’s fact-checkers, Lead Stories & USA Today, for wrongfully “fact-checking” posts that I put up earlier this year. Both USA Today & Lead Stories silenced me when I posted a different opinion on Covid – in their minds, there is only one opinion: theirs. Censorship of conservatives across the world of social media is rampant, and without challenging these alleged “fact-checkers,” we will all be silenced, disenfranchised, and marginalized.
As a result, we have filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Delaware against Lead Stories LLC, a Colorado company & Gannett Satellite Information Network LLC, d/b/a USA Today for malicious publication of false “fact check” articles, wrongfully leveraging their power as Facebook Third-Party Fact-Checking partners for the purpose of redirecting web traffic away from me, abusing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and interfering with the commercial enterprises of Candace Owens LLC. Access the lawsuit HERE.
We will be seeing them in Court in 2021.
The Epoch Times wrote a fascinating piece, exposing how Facebook decides who is and who is not worthy of “fact-checking” for their social media platform.
Facebook fact-checkers need to be certified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). Facebook describes the organization as nonpartisan, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The IFCN was set up by Poynter, a journalism nonprofit, and in 2019, was almost entirely funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar—a major Democrat donor—as well as Google and progressive billionaire George Soros. Facebook is also listed as one of the previous donors.
Who gets certified and who doesn’t is decided by the IFCN’s seven-member advisory board made up of representatives of fact-checking organizations—one from Africa, one from Bosnia and Herzegovina, one from Spain, one from India, one from Latin America, and two from the United States.
The two Americans seem to be the only ones with experience covering U.S. political news. One is Glenn Kessler, former foreign policy reporter and now the head of the fact-checking feature at The Washington Post.
Kessler and his team recently published a book called “Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth.”
The other American is Angie Drobnic Holan, editor-in-chief at PolitiFact, which is owned by Poynter.
IFCN Director Baybars Orsek assured The Epoch Times that board members recuse themselves from voting and deliberations on certifications for organizations they hold major positions in.
That would mean Kessler recuses himself for Washington Post’s certification and Holan from PolitiFact’s. They are, however, free to approve them for each other.