Constituents of Madison County assemblyman concerned that Facebook flagged his posts as ‘false’

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Constituents of State Assemblyman John Salka have reached out to NewsChannel 9 concerned about his posts on social media, some of which have been flagged as “false” by Facebook’s independent fact-checkers.

Salka represents all of Madison County and portions of Oneida and Otsego Counties.

Adding to constituents’ concerns is Salka’s responsibility as a respiratory therapist. He retired from Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, but still holds his state-issued respiratory therapy license, state records show.

Salka has been vocal about his opinions that parents should choose whether or not their children wear masks to school and that hospital workers shouldn’t be forced to get vaccinated.

He’s hosted rallies on the issues in Central New York outside the State Capitol in Albany. In addition to his personal opinions, Salka also shares a lot of posts on social media.

Like many politicians, Salka has two Facebook pages: an official government page and a personal page with almost 5,000 friends that he opens to the public.

A review by NewsChannel 9 shows at least four posts shared by Salka in the last month that Facebook has flagged as “false” or “missing context.”

Salka’s shared posts in question pose theories that masks are dangerous for children to wear and that the vaccines should be stopped.

Instead of removing questionable posts, Facebook alerts the user reading the post of the concern. The user can that click one of two options: either an explanation of Facebook’s independent research or to see the post. Facebook also offers a link to its policy on inaccurate posts.

The four posts are flagged with either: “Independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact.” or “Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.”

Assemblyman Salka has declined two requests for an interview over two days. A spokesperson writes: “The Assemblyman is not interested.”

Neither Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie nor Minority Leader Will Barclay have returned requests for comment.

The State Education Department, which manages professional licensing in New York, allows anyone with concerns about any license-holder to file a complaint.

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