‘Secular India’ Instagram Post Tagged Fake by Brazil Fact-Checkers

For both the Brazilian fact-checkers, a piece about Greta Thunberg appears when one clicks to see the fact check.

Web Culture
2 min read
The post was hidden by an overlay after it was marked as ‘fake’ by two third-party fact-checkers.

On Monday, 23 December, an Instagram user by the name of ‘MemeMinister.mp4’ put up a story which read, ‘India is a Secular country’ which was rated as ‘false information’ by two third-party fact-checking organisations – Agencia Lupa and Aos Fatos – on the social media platform.

The label, which appears prominently, hides the content behind an overlay, but users can choose to view the story by clicking on the ‘See Post’ option which appears at the bottom of the story.

‘Secular India’ Instagram Post Tagged Fake by Brazil Fact-Checkers
(Source: Instagram/Screenshot)

Similarly, the overlay allows a user to see the reason behind the post having been marked ‘false’. On clicking the ‘See Why’ option, we discovered that the two aforementioned organisations, which are based out of Brazil, had tagged the content.

But the stories which have been used to mark the ‘Secular India’ post as false have nothing to do with the content in the post. Instead, for both the organisations, a story related to Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg appears.

‘Secular India’ Instagram Post Tagged Fake by Brazil Fact-Checkers
(Source: Instagram/Screenshot)

Speaking to The Quint, Chico Marés of Agencia Lupa said that the overlay was applied incorrectly without their knowledge.

“We did not fact-check that particular claim. Our rating was incorrectly applied to this content by Facebook, without our knowledge. The 3PFC team warned us about this mixup. A few hours later, they told us there was a bug on their system that caused this incorrect marking and that it had been fixed,” Marés added.

Facebook had recently expanded the scope of its fact-checking program, of which The Quint is a party, to Instagram earlier in December, allowing fact-checkers to mark content in order to help people understand what’s true and what’s not.

We have has also reached out to Facebook for a comment and this copy will be updated as and when we receive a response.

(Update: This article has been updated with Agencia Lupa’s response.)

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