Description: Defamation lawsuit against Facebook and fact-checkers for alleged mischaracterizations of plaintiff's climate change videos.
Stossel v. Meta Platforms, Inc.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 10/11/2022 Order Download Motions to dismiss and motions to strike the complaint pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute granted without leave to amend. Federal Court Dismissed Defamation Claim Arising from Fact-Checking of Climate Change Videos on Facebook. In a defamation lawsuit concerning labels placed on climate change-related videos on Facebook, the federal district court for the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice the plaintiff journalist’s defamation claim against both Meta Platforms, Inc. and a non-profit fact-checking organization. The journalist alleged that one label falsely attributed to him a claim that forest fires were caused by poor management and not by climate change, and that the “Partly False” and “contains factual inaccuracies” labels on another video were themselves false. The second video featured a panel discussion questioning claims made by “environmental alarmists.” The court found that none of the allegedly defamatory statements were actionable as false statements of objective fact. The court also granted the defendants’ motion to strike pursuant to California’s anti-Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation law, finding that the statements at issue qualified as protected activity under the law because they were made in a public forum and concerned a matter of public interest. 03/14/2022 Reply Download Reply filed by defendant Science Feedback in support of motion to dismiss pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute. 09/22/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Facebook and Fact-Checkers Sued for Defamation for Labels Applied to Climate Change Videos. The journalist John Stossel, who currently publishes weekly news videos on social media, filed a defamation lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. and two French non-profit organizations that provide fact-checking services to Facebook. Stossel alleged that Facebook on two occasions placed labels over videos concerning climate change that mischaracterized the content of statements in the videos. He alleged that on one of these occasions the defendants falsely attributed to him a statement that climate change does not cause wildfires, and that on the second occasion a “Partly False Information” label was affixed to a video in which Stossel questioned claims made by people he referred to “environmental alarmists.” Stossel asserted that the defendants’ actions injured him in his profession and occupation, and that the defendants acted with malice and that Facebook acted with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the statements on the labels. Stossel requested injunctive and declaratory relief; general, special, and compensatory damages to make him whole for actual damages and reputational damages (estimated to exceed $1 million); exemplary and punitive damages (estimated to exceed $1 million); and costs of suit.