Economist Phillip Magness slams ‘Orwellian’ Facebook for fact-checking recession

A leading economist has revealed that Facebook placed a fact-check tag on a post claiming the US had entered a recession, giving it a ‘partially false’ rating as President Biden continues to dismiss the grim assessment of the US. ‘economy.

Dr. Phillip Magness, director of research and education at the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian think tank, shared a screenshot of his Facebook account, showing that the social media site had “independent fact checkers” to review his July 24 post. , and that they found it to be “partially wrong”.

“We live in an Orwellian hell”, Magness tweeted Thursday. “Facebook is now fact-checking anyone who questions the White House’s puns on defining a recession.”

Facebook added a notice to the post warning that “people who repeatedly share false information may have their posts moved lower in the News Feed where other people are less likely to see them.”

Magness, director of research and education at the American Institute for Economic Research, took to Twitter to express his dismay.
Twitter / @PhilWMagnes

The correction comes after Biden last week denied the United States was in a recession, despite new data showing GDP contracted for a second straight quarter, meeting the long-accepted definition of a recession.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the president sought to downplay the troubling report and focus on near-record unemployment rates and his administration’s progress in measures to bring soaring inflation under control.

“It doesn’t sound like a recession to me,” he said, prompting GOP leaders to accuse the president of “gaslighting” the nation, with the Republican National Committee saying the GDP report pointed to the “recession of Biden”.

Economist Phillip Magness has accused Facebook of being
Economist Phillip Magness has accused Facebook of being “Orwellian” after its post stating the US was in a recession was checked and labeled partially false.
American Institute of Economics

Other senior administration officials followed Biden’s lead in dismissing the report showing the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.9%, following the 1.6% drop in the first quarter. .

“We should avoid a semantic battle,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters last week, adding that “Americans’ biggest concern is inflation” and that they generally feel good about their ability to find a job and stay employed.

The determination of whether the United States is technically in a recession is usually made by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which is a private, nonprofit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

A week before the negative GDP report was released, the White House issued a preemptive blog post denying that two consecutive quarters of declining GDP was the official definition of a recession.

The post’s author argued that “holistic data” such as “the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production and income” figured into the true definition of a recession.

President Biden last week tried to play down a new report that said GDP contracted for a second straight quarter.
President Biden last week tried to play down a new report that said GDP contracted for a second straight quarter.

“Based on these data, the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year, even if followed by another decline in GDP in the second quarter, is unlikely to indicate a recession,” the post said.

Magness, who has criticized Biden’s handling of the economy in the past, wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on July 27, in which he accused the White House of “playing puns.” , instead of addressing the problem. underlying economic problems.

“The White House’s attempt to maneuver its way around a recession shows the dangers of politicizing economic terms,” ​​he wrote. “Mr. Biden’s economic advisers are trying to buy time by exploiting the NBER’s otherwise defensible methodology. They hope this will insulate the administration from electoral backlash in the event of a downturn.

Magness took aim at the administration again on Twitter on Saturday, accusing the White House and the media of hypocrisy.

“Recession. nm 1. 2 straight quarters of negative GDP growth while the media doesn’t like the president. 2. A vague, holistic, ill-defined condition that you’re not allowed to talk about until the NBER makes a decision in a year, provided the media likes the president,” he wrote mockingly.

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans described the U.S. economy as bad and about 7 in 10 disapproved of Biden’s economic leadership, according to a June survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

With post wires

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