Sky News Australia is taking legal action against fact-checker RMIT FactLab after it said the broadcaster’s content was false, despite having an out-of-date license.
According to The Australian, the broadcaster’s lawyers have written to RMIT University, listing at least 5 fact-checks that have happened since December last year. At least four relate to the voice referendum content.
It is asking for a retraction of false fact-checking verdicts on the TV channel’s online content, as well as reimbursement for lost revenue.
RMIT FactLab had its International Fact-Checking Network certification expiring on December 2 last year. It needs a valid IFCN certification, as part of its agreement with social media giant Meta.
A legal letter to RMIT by Sky News Australia’s lawyers on August 28, referenced the lack of an IFCN certification.
“Despite FactLab acknowledging it is not certified and its clear acceptance of that fact, demonstrated by the removal of some of the misleading material, the ‘verdicts’ will appear on the FactLab website and therefore are still being used on Facebook,” it said.
“As you are aware, Meta only works with IFCN certified organisations as fact checkers.
“Continuing to publish the verdicts, and provide them to Facebook, is clearly misleading when FactLab concedes it does not have the relevant certification required to do so.”
FactLab was criticsed last month after it after it fact-checked reports by Sky News host Peta Credlin that the Uluru Statement from the Heart was 26 pages long.
Sky News had posted a video of Credlin’s comments about the statement’s length on its Facebook page but FactLab declared it was “false information” and a tag was placed on the video. It was subsequently unable to be viewed.
Meta later suspended its partnership with RMIT Fact-Lab, due to its IFCN certification no longer being live and there being concerns about its bias around the voice debate.
RMIT University’s lawyers responded by claiming that Sky agreed to Meta’s terms when it started a page and should take action against Meta if it has any problems.