The Senate Commerce Committee is preparing to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the social media site restricted how many users can view content posted by three mainstream conservative commentators: Dinesh D’Souza, Mark Levin, and John Stossel.
Apparently, content posted by these individuals was flagged as “missing context” – a label applied to information that could be misleading without additional context.
“This is the kind of censorship conservatives have to deal with,” argues Dinesh D’Souza, whose audience was trimmed after he posted an image of Joe Biden with the quote “Antifa is an idea, not an organization.”
Apparently, Facebook flagged the post because D’Souza failed to attribute the quote to its original source – FBI Director Christopher Wray.
In early October, Mark Levin received a notice from Facebook informing him that his page would be restricted due to his frequent sharing of false news.
“It’s a clear effort at censorship,” argues Levin. “Every link I post is from a legitimate source…but because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of an election, it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome. It’s also clear Facebook is pushing a leftwing agenda.”
John Stossel (a libertarian who criticizes Republicans and Democrats) received a “missing context” warning from Facebook after he blamed the recent wildfires in California on “bad policies” and not on “the slightly warmer climate.”
When Stossel got in touch with his fact checker, the individual cited a 2016 report as saying that “human-caused climate change…doubled the cumulative forest fire area since 1984.”
Ironically, that quote lacks context.
In reality, the 2016 report says that climate change may have accounted for 12%-72% of burned areas. The paper’s authors admit a significant uncertainty in their claims and acknowledge that they did not take forest management into account.
Here’s how Facebook’s fact-checking policy works: Facebook employs individuals (most of them Democrats) who are responsible for flagging false or misleading content with a warning label. When this occurs, the content creator’s Facebook page is throttled, leading to fewer views even among subscribers. Facebook’s fact checkers are paid by Facebook and are certified by the IFCN, a network whose donors include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, hedge fund billionaire George Soros, Google, Facebook, and Bill Gates.
“Our ratings are designed to reflect the types of content our fact-checking partners are seeing on our platforms and to help make sure people have more precise information to judge what to read, trust, and share…We’ve built an unmatched program and are committed to continuously improving it, with feedback from our partners and our community,” claims a Facebook spokesperson. “While many Republicans think we should do one thing, many Democrats think we should do the exact opposite. We’ve faced criticism from Republicans for being biased against conservatives and Democrats for not taking more steps to restrict the exact same content. Our job is to create one consistent set of rules that applies equally to everyone.”
Facebook’s blatant political bias and its efforts to affect the outcome of elections are easy to see but difficult to prove, mostly because Facebook keeps much of its internal data secret. Basic information – including how many views, shares, or clicks a story receives in a given day – is unavailable to the public.
If you ask an employee about instances in which Facebook has removed conservative-leaning content, he will tell you it’s because conservative content is more likely to ‘push the envelope’ or trend towards conspiracy. He will tell you that Facebook policies are applied to all content evenly.
But as I wrote in August (read more here), Facebook is more than happy to allow inappropriate, misleading, and downright hateful content as long as that content targets Republicans, whites, President Trump, and/or the police.
“Big Tech is out to get conservatives,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) this summer. “That’s not a hunch. That’s not a suspicion. That’s a fact.”