Political censorship on Facebook appears to be far more extreme than anyone could have imagined. And it should come as no surprise that this censorship is all directed towards conservatives.
Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly defended “deeply offensive” free speech on the website, arguing that even Holocaust deniers have a right to express their views on the platform. Recent revelations suggest that this public defense of free expression is a farce, and completely contradicted by systematic Facebook practices to quash conservative opinion.
According to a former Facebook insider who was interviewed by Project Veritas, the social media giant has allegedly developed an entire set of tools that it frequently uses to suppress conservative voices and target outspoken right-leaning users.
One of those tools is called “ActionDeboostLiveDistribution,” a code for a function that reportedly suppresses the distribution of live content from certain pages.
“I would see [this term] appear on several different conservative pages,” the insider told Project Veritas. “I first noticed it with an account…(and) I remember once I started looking at it, I also saw it on Mike Cernovich’s page, saw it on Steven Crowder’s page, as well as the Daily Caller’s page.”
“[W]ith these ‘deboost live stream’ things, there was no warning sent to the user… These were actions that were being taken without the users knowing,” the former Facebook employee added.
Facebook has had several opportunities to show that it understands its responsibility as the world’s largest social network, a platform that now has 2.23 billion active users worldwide, sees 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily, and is responsible for one out of every five page views in the United States.
In other words, conservative videos that are live-streamed on the social network could be quietly “deboosted” by Facebook, instantly limiting the content’s reach and impact. According to the insider, the social media website did not target live content from liberal pages with the same “deboost” function.
Remarkably, though, the censorship of conservative users on Facebook doesn’t stop there.
[ Previous coverage: Facebook, Twitter meet with GOP on censorship of conservatives]
Additional supporting documents published by Project Veritas contained a presentation from a pair of Facebook engineers, Seiji Yamamoto and Eduardo Arino de la Rubia, titled “Coordinating Trolling on FB” that appears to mention both ongoing activities and potential future actions that Facebook can take to suppress content it doesn’t like.
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“Yamamoto, who is responsible for ‘News Feed Reduction Strategy,’ also authored a post where he said Facebook should address ‘…quite a bit of content near the perimeter of hate speech,’” the report claimed.
The presentation reportedly outlines how Facebook could identify “bad content” based on certain key terms that are often used by conservatives — including “MSM” for Mainstream Media and “SJW” for Social Justice Warrior — and also proposes “special features” that Facebook could use to clamp down on “troll” accounts “leading up to important elections.”
“They created the troll score so they could help identify, using words they would post, pictures, if they were friends with other trolls and then using that to determine whether this person should be on the platform or not,” the insider told Project Veritas.
Sadly, many other large social media platforms that once championed free speech are also fast becoming censors of political expression , abusing their power to determine which news reports you see and which opinions you hear.
No democracy can survive without free speech and open public discourse, and the suppression of controversial views — whether genuinely offensive or just contrary to the views of the liberal elites at tech companies — is the first step toward tyranny.
What Facebook knows about you
If Facebook really is engaging in extreme censorship, then the social media giant has become one of the foremost threats to intellectual diversity in America — a true enemy of a free people.
Brian Robertson is a former senior administration official who served most recently in the U.S. Department of State.