Just the News

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Facebook "fact check" of a Just the News article is a red herring: Just The News posted an article about White House COVID adviser Scott Atlas' position about mask mandates, and Facebook used a red herring to "fact check" it. The article explained Atlas' position that mask mandates have not been shown to work, making note of countries in Europe where such mandates have been in place yet cases have continued to go up. The article specifically said that Atlas criticized "an ongoing 'obsession' with masks, claiming that universal making mandates 'don't work' at suppressing the spread of" the virus. However, the Facebook "fact check" applied to this article, which called it "False Information," referred to a Health Feedback article from May that is titled "Scientific evidence supports the use of face masks for reducing the transmission of respiratory diseases including COVID-19." Not only is this article not current, Atlas criticized mask mandates as not working, not masks themselves. While subtle, there is a difference between whether masks work and whether mask mandates work. One is a piece of protective equipment to protect someone from a virus, while the other is a public policy "solution." The "fact check" article does not speak at all to the outcome of such policies. The "fact check" article also admits that "research gaps still exist regarding the efficacy of face masks." Facebook is using this irrelevant article deliberately to reduce the visibility of an article about what the White House's COVID adviser had to say about mask mandates. Facebook itself admits that articles with such a fact check warning on them are clicked on 95% less often.