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Top US economist 'fact-checked' by Facebook for stating the country is in a recession

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

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Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
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A top US economist fell victim to Facebook "fact-checkers" on Thursday when he stated that the United States is in a recession following the release of the GDP report which showed negative growth for the second consecutive quarter, the standard definition of an economic "recession."

This comes after the Biden administration attempted to downplay the United States' plunge into an economic recession by changing its definition ahead of the Bureau of Economic Analysis report on the Nation's GDP performance.

"We live in an Orwellian hell-scape. Facebook is now 'fact checking' anyone who questions the White House's word-games about the definition of a recession," Phil Magness wrote on Twitter, a researcher and educator with the American Institute for Economic Research.

The White House quietly adjusted the definition of recession ahead of the report to state that two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth noes not equate an economy in recession.

"What is a recession? While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle," the White House said.

"Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists' assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data—including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes," the White House continued. "Based on these data, it is unlikely that the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year—even if followed by another GDP decline in the second quarter—indicates a recession."

Despite heavy criticism across the aisle for downplaying the dire economic recession that the US is currently under, President Joe Biden stood by the White House's definition adjustment and declared on Monday ahead of the GDP report that the US will not be in a recession.

"We're not going to be in a recession, in my view," Biden said. "The unemployment rate is still one of the lowest we've had in history. It's in the 3.6 percent area. We still find ourselves with people investing."

On Thursday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis report found that, "Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022, according to the 'advance' estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 1.6 percent."

After the economist was fact-checked for standing by the standard definition of a recession, along with warning that the Biden administration's adjustment is harmful, Magness pointed out President Biden's and the media's hypocrisy on past statements about recessions.

"Meanwhile, remember that time when Joe Biden declared that we were in a recession in October 2020 without any NBER determination? Funny how they don't fact-check that one," Magness wrote.

"Or the time Biden declared we were in a recession in September 2020? No fact-check there either," Phil Magness added.

In an October 11, 2020, tweet from Joe Biden, the President asserted that the United States was in a recession. Magness slammed those claims and said there were no official reports indicating the US was in a recession during that time.

"Can somebody show me the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) determination that said we were in a recession in October 2020? Asking for a friend," Magness said.

Magness then slammed the media's fraudulent fact-checking business.

"The entire media 'fact checking' industry is an exercise in politically motivated fraud," the economist said.

In a separate Twitter thread, Magness noted that many Western nations equate an economy in recession to two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

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