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The WEIRD Governance of Fact-Checking and the Politics of Content Moderation

Vinhas, O. & Bastos, M. T. ORCID: 0000-0003-0480-1078 (2023). The WEIRD Governance of Fact-Checking and the Politics of Content Moderation. New Media and Society, doi: 10.1177/14614448231213942


In this paper we chart the conflicting standards of fact-checking outside Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) countries that shifted their focus from holding politicians to account to acting as content moderators. We apply reflexive thematic analysis to a set of interviews with 37 fact-checking experts from 35 organizations in 27 countries to catalog the pressures they face and their struggle with tasks that are increasingly different from the journalistic values underpinning the practice. We find that fact-checkers have to balance the number of checks across each side of the partisan divide, an exercise in ‘bothsidesism’ to manage the expectations of partisan social media users; that they increasingly prioritize the checking of viral content; and that Meta’s third-party fact-checking program prevents them from holding local politicians to account. We conclude with a discussion of our findings and recommendations for content moderation outside WEIRD countries.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Content governance, content moderation, fact-checking, misinformation, non-WEIRD countries, social media platforms, thematic analysis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Media & Communications
SWORD Depositor:
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