Fact-Checker Shadowbans NewsPunch for Refusing to Publish Vaccine Propaganda

Fact checked
Fact-checker punishes NewsPunch for refusing to publish vaccine propaganda on their behalf.

One of Facebook’s fact-checkers followed through on their threat to censor NewsPunch for refusing to publish pro-vaccine propaganda, by shadowbanning our entire website on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Agence France Presse (AFP), one of Facebook’s designated fact-checkers tasked with deciding what users can and can’t see online, issued a “partly false” rating against an article we published which accurately detailed the adverse reactions listed on an official Pfizer document obtained through a lawsuit.

The rating against our domain, issued by AFP, meant that readers were not only unable to share our story on Facebook, but our website also became blacklisted across social media. In other words, we became shadowbanned because AFP decided to punish us.

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The censorship by one of Facebook’s arbiters of truth came just a few days after we published an article exposing their previous threats towards us after we refused to comply with AFP intern Natalie Wade’s demands – where she ordered us to publish pro-vaccine propaganda on AFP‘s behalf:

One of Facebook’s fact-checkers ramped up the war against News Punch on Thursday by demanding that we remove an article in which we exposed their threatening behavior towards us for refusing to publish Covid propaganda on their behalf.

A few days after publishing the exposé of AFP and Natalie Wade we received the following notice on Facebook:

So who are Natalie Wade and Rob Lever?

Natalie Wade and Rob Lever both work for AFP – a fact-checking website contracted by Facebook to determine what millions of people worldwide are allowed to see on their newsfeeds.

According to Natalie Wade’s Linkedin (archived here), her experience includes:

An experienced writer, skilled reporter, videographer, graphic designer and photographer who enjoys working in print, digital and broadcast journalism. A strong media/ communications professional, familiar with a variety of content management systems, data analysis applications, and others more tailored to social media outreach and engagement. Skilled in SEO strategy and digital marketing. Natalie Wade recently earned a master’s degree in Digital Communication and Media Arts at DePaul University.

In other words, Wade is fresh out of college. Yet she now interns for AFP to censor scientific and medical stories on Facebook with zero qualifications in either field. Her experience in journalism is virtually non-existent having only previously worked on college newspapers according to her resume (archived here):

Natalie Wade studied Communication and Media and Digital Cinema during her undergrad at DePaul University (2015-2019). She started her graduate degree studies while still in undergrad and this spring achieved her Masters in Digital Communication and Media Arts at DePaul University (2020).

Rob Lever, the guy who erroneously labelled the verified Pfizer adverse reactions document as “partly false” is also not qualified to “fact check” scientific or medical issues. Per his Linkedin (archived here):

Award-winning journalist covering all things tech from a global perspective for AFP: tech policy, artificial intelligence, algorithms and society, digital politics, cybersecurity, social media, gadgetry (scooters too). Breaking news, features, in-depth reporting, copy editing, social media skills

Rob has worked for 9 years as a “technology reporter”. Nowhere in his resume does it include qualifications related to science or medical health:

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Censoring news and information on the world’s biggest platform is a serious business, and it should be taken seriously by AFP – especially now that Facebook have anointed them watchdogs of all of our news feeds.

Why are interns and people with zero knowledge of science or medicine allowed to maliciously censor small independent publishers on behalf of Facebook?

We will keep our readers updated about this and any other abuses committed by the fact-checkers. There is too much at stake to let these misdeeds go unreported.