Facebook asserts in court filing that some ‘fact-checks’ are just ‘protected opinions’

In a court filing responding to a lawsuit filed by John Stossel claiming that he was defamed by a “fact check” Facebook used to label a video by him as “misleading,” Meta’s attorneys assert that the “fact check” was an “opinion,” not an actual check of facts and declaration of facts.

Under libel law, opinions are protected from liability for libel. Anthony Watts of Wattsupwiththat explains that opinions are not subject to defamation claims, while false assertions of fact can be subject to defamation.

The quote in Facebook’s complaint is as follows; “For example, Stossel’s claim on the Fact check articles written by climate feedback not the labels affixed through the Facebook platform.  The labels themselves are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion.  Even if Stossel could attribute Climate Feedback’s separate webpages to Meta, the challenged statements on those pages are likewise neither false nor defamatory.  Any of these failures would doom Stossel’s complaint, but the combination makes any amendment futile.”

In response, Facebook argued that the so-called “fact check” was actually an “opinion” rather than an actual check and statement of the facts. Opinions are protected from libel accusations, releasing the person or entity that made the statements from liability.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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