On Dec. 17, 2021, the editor in chief, Fiona Godlee, and incoming editor in chief, Kamran Abbasi, published an open letter to Meta cofounder, Mark Zuckerberg, over Facebook’s “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible” fact-checking of a BMJ story Nov. 2, 2021 (below). The legally and externally peer reviewed story raised serious questions about Pfizer’s data integrity and regulatory oversight at one of its main U.S. contracted Covid-19 vaccine trial research sites. A whistleblower for the company advised the FDA of the highly questionable practices but was ignored.
When Facebook users tried to post the story, it was either blocked from sharing or came with the following warning: “Missing context … Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.”
Regarded as one of the most respected and trusted medical journals, the contracted fact checker, Lead Stories, labelled the BMJ as a “news blog.” Lead Stories was contacted by the BMJ to correct the many inaccuracies in their “fact check” but refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or errors.