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Facebook 'fact-checks' top economist after he says America is in a recession

Photo of the Dow plunging on Wall Street. (Getty Images){p}{/p}
Photo of the Dow plunging on Wall Street. (Getty Images)

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Facebook allegedly placed a "fact-checking" label on a social media post written by a top economist after he said he believes America is in a recession.

Phillip Magness, the research and education director at the American Institute for Economic Research, shared his thoughts about the U.S. economy on social media, but was issued a warning by Facebook's "fact-checkers" who labeled his post misleading.

We live in an Orwellian hell-scape," Magness wrote on his Twitter post featuring a screenshot of the warning he received. "Facebook is now 'fact checking' anyone who questions the White House's word-games about the definition of a recession.

The warning tells Magness that he shared a photo on July 24, 2022, that "independent fact-checkers" reviewed and decided was "partly false."

Due to this decision, Magness's post will have a notice attached to it alerting other users. The attached notice will read "PolitiFact - No, the White House didn't change the definition of 'recession'" and will include a button that links to the Politico article disputing the claim.

A "recession" is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters." Using this definition, America is in a recession, having experienced "a fall in GDP in two successive quarters."

However, some economists object to this and maintain that America is not in a recession. The White House also objects to the notion America is in a recession, pointing to the low unemployment rate as an indicator.

Magness, after being "fact-checked," took to Twitter to speak out against the idea anything he posted was "partly false." He points to previous Twitter posts from President Joe Biden himself, declaring that America was in a recession in October 2020 without being “fact-checked.”

Biden had also said in September 2020 that America was in recession and, again, Magness pointed out that Biden was not "fact-checked" then either.

Magness also points out in several of his tweets that many other countries define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. He shares the official definitions for "recession" for the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Canada. He even provides the definition from the New York Times glossary of terms.

The entire media "fact checking" industry is an exercise in politically motivated fraud," Magness states in one of his tweets.
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Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel, when speaking with The National Desk, says that while he doesn't personally believe America is currently in a recession, he does think there exist signs that the country is headed in that direction.

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