More than half of Americans get their news from social media. These spaces – social media platforms, video and audio recommender systems, social news and gossip boards – have their own fact-checking and editorial cultures that, although not the exact same as those found in newsrooms, offer similar controls for the distribution of information. While imperfect, just like the controls of traditional media, these fact-checking cultures may offer a response to recent US judicial rejection of actual malice and provide a route of inquiry for courts examining evidence to determine if a defamation plaintiff has met the heightened standard. This brief essay considers these cultures of fact-checking with a focus on the cultures of celebrity gossip using the recent ruling in Almanzar v. Kebe, the Cardi B vs Tasha K defamation case, as a point of departure.

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