In response to suggestions by readers, the Fake News Pledge has been edited to focus narrowly on eliminating “false or inaccurate” fake news from Facebook, not on items that are “unproven.”
Under the slightly edited guidelines of the Fake News Pledge, Facebook users can post or share unproven information on Facebook, if they do not claim that such unproven information is true.
This does not mean that posting unproven news items is encouraged by the Fake News Pledge. On the contrary, some, but not all, unproven news can poison rational discourse in much the same way falsehoods do. But the purview of the Fake News Pledge covers accuracy only.
For example, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) recently called for an investigation into FBI leaks. And U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) called for in investigation into Trump’s actions in Russia. Both of these news items are unproven but neither is presented as true. Therefore neither would be considered fake news, under the new guidelines of the Fake News Pledge. On the other hand, Donald Trump’s statement that millions of illegal ballots were cast against him in the 2016 is unproven and false, under the guidelines of the Fake News Pledge.
The change was made after critics pointed out that unproven allegations, from trustworthy sources, have a place in civic discourse, as long as they not presented as true. It’s not the role of the Fake News Pledge to define the criteria that make unproven news, not presented as true, credible enough to spread on Facebook.
With respect to accuracy, which is now the sole purview of the pledge, the Fake News Pledge states that information, packaged somehow to look like news, should not be spread on Facebook if it’s “deemed unproven or false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, , or by a respected news outlet.” If such information is posted, it will be removed unless “detailed reasons for not deleting it” are provided.