ITN Show Article: Exposes Facebook Funding USA Today Fact-Checking ItalyGate - 2.2.21
According to disclaimers on articles published by USA Today, fact check work at the national outlet is now funded – at least in part – by tech giant Facebook. “Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook,” a disclaimer at the end of fact-check articles reads. One of the articles on which the disclaimer appears is USA Today’s fact-check article on ItalyGate – the allegations that interference in the Nov. 3 U.S. election was conducted in locations in Italy including U.S. Embassy Rome.
We have previously published an article addressing various claims made by fact-checkers against ItalyGate, including those by USA Today. It is unclear when the funding by Facebook began or just how many articles were funded by the social media platform but an article published by USA Today in March 2020 states USA Today joined Facebook’s fact-checking program to rate and verify news that appears on Facebook and Instagram to “help prevent the spread of false information.” It is also unclear how many publications Facebook has such agreements with or how they are managing to separate that funding from Facebook’s aggressive efforts to censor content attempting to bring evidence of election fraud to light. Requests for comment on those questions from both USA Today and Facebook were not returned at the time of this writing. Numerous articles have been written attempting to discredit claims put forth by Maria Zack and her organization Nations in Action that election interference took place in Italy. Very few of them actually address the specific claims being made, however. In one such example, USA Today says claims Italian news media has covered the scandal are false, and they cite the lack of press coverage in the Italian feeds of the Associated Press, Reuters, and Sky News as evidence. USA Today neglects to mention however, the article that ran in Italy’s La Verita on December 1, 2020 titled “Gli avvocati di Trump non hanno dubbi: Una manina italiana nei brogli pro Biden,” or “Trump’s Lawyers Have No Doubts: ‘An Italian Hand in the Pro-Biden Brogli.’”
Brogli is Italian for fraud.
Reuters also fails to address several inconsistencies in their fact-check article on ItalyGate and on election fraud more broadly.
For example, Reuters addresses claims fraud may have taken place involving voter software maker Scytl and some of its servers in Frankfurt, Germany, by claiming Scytl does not maintain offices in Germany. An election “success case” report right on Scytl’s website identifies Frankfurt as the site of an “emergency back-up center” for data, however.
Shortly after the U.S. Congress certified the results of the Nov. 3 election on January 6, Facebook announced it was banning President Trump for “at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” citing the violence that took place at the Capitol Building that day. What followed were not just similar actions by the major tech firms against President Trump but also against a long list of conservatives who were either banned, had their accounts suspended or lost many of their followers. Strangely, Facebook would soon announce the ban on Donald Trump would be “indefinite” and have refused to reinstate his account even after he has vacated the White House.