Croatian fact-checkers’ war on fake news leads to accusation of bias


Most other mainstream media organizations say they don’t have much trouble with Faktograf’s work and arrangement with Facebook.

Ana Hanzekovic Krznaric, owner and board member of Hanza Media, the publisher of three daily newspapers and several news portals, told BIRN that he “did not notice any negative consequences for the readability of their articles in this context”.

Siniša Kovacic, editor-in-chief of the Croatian Catholic Network, which includes Croatian Catholic Radio, the Catholic News Agency and the Croatian Catholic Network portal, said he had no direct experience with fact-checking organizations. .

“We haven’t noticed any consequences…but we have noticed that there are times when Facebook’s algorithms reduce the reach of our posts, although we assume the reason is an indirect ‘incentive’ to increase the reach of our posts. sponsorship of publications.

“On the other hand, we have noticed that some portals complain about the reduced scope, precisely because of the ratings of fact-checkers,” he said.

“Facebook’s algorithms are constantly changing and each time the readability range of texts decreases,” said the weekly’s editor-in-chief, director and co-owner. National, Berislav Jelinic, told BIRN.

He said the work of fact-checking organizations has not affected their activities. “I don’t follow their activities,” he said.

Krunoslav Hrnjak, a forensic expert in electrical engineering, telecommunications and computer science, says “how social media algorithms work is not entirely clear.”

“Social networks do not reveal the algorithms or the concepts on which they operate, but it is obvious that social networks serve users content similar to that which they have previously expressed, either by reacting to the content or by commenting; thus, social networks mainly connect like-minded people,” he told BIRN.

“Whether fact-checkers’ posts are objective is a difficult question,” he added.

“Specifically, in one of the cases that I personally reported, they did not react… If we look at the current pandemic, we have conflicting opinions from knowledgeable scientists on the Croatian scene, so the question is whether how journalists should pass judgment on what is right and true,” he concluded.

Oriana Ivkovic Novokmet, Director of GOING, said the new battle over fake news and free speech underscores the need for even tighter regulation of major digital platforms; this would encourage users and promote the decentralization and democratization of the Internet.

Faktograf editor Petar Vidov declined to comment to BIRN on objections to their work and allegations of bias.


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