British Medical Journal on Facebook “fact check”…inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible” – Do you care about that?

Hot after last week’s bomb blast admission by Facebook lawyers in legal filings “Fact check” is nothing more than opinion, this open letter to Zuckerberg and Facebook/Meta highly respected word British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows even more reasons Facebook is simply engaging in wonton censorship. From my point of view it’s the equivalent of professional ‘bitch’.

It is worth repeating and sharing everywhere. It’s time to push back the double difficulty. h/t to Willis Eschenbach.

Open letter from BMJ to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

We are Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi, editors of The BMJ, one of the oldest and most influential general medical journals in the world. We are writing to raise serious concerns about “fact checking” performed by third-party vendors on behalf of Facebook/Meta.

In September, a former employee of Ventavia, a contract research firm that helps conduct the main Pfizer covid-19 vaccine trial, began providing The BMJ with dozens of documents, photos, audio recordings and documents. Company internal email. These documents reveal a series of poor clinical trial research practices occurring at Ventavia that could impact data integrity and patient safety. We also discovered that, despite receiving direct complaints about these issues more than a year ago, the FDA did not inspect Ventavia’s testing sites.

The BMJ commissioned an investigative reporter to write the story for our magazine. The article was published November 2, after legal review, external peer review, and was subject to The BMJ’s usual senior editorial oversight and review.[1]

But from November 10, readers started reporting a bunch of problems when trying to share our articles. Some reports are unable to share it. Many others said their posts were flagged with a warning saying, “Lack of context… Independent fact-checkers say it could mislead people.” People who tried to post the article were told by Facebook that people who repeatedly shared “misinformation” could have their posts reduced in Facebook News Feed. The admin of the group where the post was shared received a message from Facebook stating that the posts were “partially untrue”.

Readers were directed to a “fact check” performed by a Facebook contractor called Lead Stories.[2]

We found the “verification of authenticity” process conducted by Lead Stories to be inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.

– It doesn’t make any claim that The BMJ’s article is wrong

– It had a nonsensical headline: “Truth Check: British Medical Journal Did NOT Disclose Dismissed and Disregarded Reports of Lawbreakers in Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trial”

– The first paragraph incorrectly labels the BMJ as “news blog”

– It contains a screenshot of our article with a stamp on it that says “Flaws reviewed”, although the Main Story article does not identify anything false or untrue in Article by The BMJ

– It published the story on its website under a URL containing the phrase “hoax warning”

We contacted Lead Stories, but they refused to change anything about the post or their actions led to Facebook flagging our posts.

We have also contacted Facebook directly, requesting the immediate removal of the “fact-verified” label and any links to Lead Stories articles, thus allowing our readers to freely share the article on your background.

There is also a broader concern that we would like to raise. We know that BMJ is not the only provider of high-quality information affected by the incompetence of Meta’s fact-checking regime. To give another example, we’ll highlight the Instagram treatment (also owned by Meta) by Cochrane, an international provider of high-quality systematic reviews of medical evidence. .[3] Instead of investing a significant portion of Meta’s profits to help ensure the accuracy of medical information shared via social media, you’ve clearly put the responsibility on incompetent people to do the work. perform this important task. Fact-checking has been a staple of good journalism for decades. What happened in this case should be of interest to anyone who values ​​and relies on sources like The BMJ.

We expect you to act quickly: specifically to correct errors related to The BMJ article and review the processes that led to the error; and generally to review your investment and approach to fact-checking as a whole.

Best wishes,

Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief
Kamran Abbasi, the upcoming editor-in-chief

Competitive benefits:
As current and upcoming editor-in-chief, we are responsible for everything BMJ has.


[1] Thacker PD. Covid-19: Researcher blows whistle on data integrity issues in Pfizer vaccine trial. BMJ. 2021 November 2; 375: n2635. doi: 10.1136 / bmj.n2635. PMID: 34728500.

[2] Miller D. Fact Check: The British Medical Journal did NOT release rejected and omitted reports of lawbreakers in the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trial. November 10, 2021.…


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