Fake news crackdown threatens religious news

Print More
Pope Francis talks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, second from left, and Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg's wife, during a meeting at the Vatican on August 29, 2016. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke is at far right. Photo courtesy of Reuters via Osservatore Romano
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-FACEBOOK, originally transmitted on August 29, 2016.

Pope Francis talks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, second from left, and Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg's wife, during a meeting at the Vatican on August 29, 2016. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke is at far right. Photo courtesy of Reuters via Osservatore Romano *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-FACEBOOK, originally transmitted on August 29, 2016.

MENLO PARK, Calif. (RNS)  What qualifies as “fake news” to one person, might just be another’s holiest scripture. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is coming under fire from religious groups who fear their news of miracles and revelations will be labeled “fictional” as the social media site cracks down on fake news.

Take these headlines from news outlets that cover religious news, including RNS, and try to “prove” they actually “happened” in secular terms:

Can outside sources verify what God believes to be holy? Can anyone verify God’s existence?  Can anyone think of more hypothetical questions like this to underscore the point?

As religious leaders expressed their concerns to The Literalist, The Literalist in turn became increasingly worried about Facebook deciding what is “fake” and “real” news. So The Literalist sent a short note to Facebook headquarters reading, “Now, don’t take this literally, but The Literalist encourages you to let users use reason when it comes to fake news. Satire included.”