Pressure To Break Up Facebook Builds
The conservative-hating social media giant may soon get its comeuppance.
By Matthew Vadum
America’s largest communications union, the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America (CWA), has joined an activist coalition called Freedom from Facebook that seeks to break up the monopolistic social media giant.
So far the groups supporting the Freedom From Facebook coalition are predominantly left-wing. Among them are MoveOn.org and Public Citizen. Facebook has about 2 billion users worldwide.
But the ideological makeup of the FFF coalition could change in a heartbeat if Facebook continues down its intolerant, authoritarian path. That’s because conservatives have long been abused by Facebook and this ill treatment has only intensified since the election of President Donald Trump. Conservatives are getting wise to being used and taken advantage of and they don’t like it.
The Left claims to have only the purest motives for wanting to take action against Facebook.
“We should all be deeply concerned by Facebook’s power over our lives and democracy,” said Brian Thorn of CWA, the newest member of the Freedom From Facebook coalition.
Facebook’s workers are not represented by CWA, but the union does represent more than 100,000 employees at AT&T Inc. Facebook’s contracted shuttle drivers and cafeteria workers reportedly belong to labor unions.
The Left views Facebook and other social media companies as cash cows. They want to recruit their employees as dues-paying labor union members. Probably no more than a handful of left-wing activists actually believe FFF’s “Facebook is a threat to democracy” rhetoric.
Facebook is now in the process of negotiating favorable regulations with Congress and regulators. As Bloomberg News reports:
Facebook disclosed July 2 that it’s cooperating with probes by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on how political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information from as many as 87 million of the site’s users without their consent. The FTC, the Department of Justice and some state regulators were already probing the matter, which prompted Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress in April. Facebook also faces calls for regulation from many lawmakers and the public over the privacy issue, Russian efforts to manipulate the 2016 presidential election and the spread of false information on the platform.
CWA is demanding action. For the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to leave Facebook’s monopoly intact and fail to impose stronger privacy protection rules “would be unfair to the American people, our privacy, and our democracy,” Thorn told Bloomberg News.
With algorithm changes, Facebook can – and does – destroy right-leaning media outlets and websites at will.
Early this year a Facebook algorithm change crushed engagement rates on conservative groups’ pages. The change killed off the Facebook-driven websites Rare.us and LittleThings and is strangling other sites.
Facebook killed Right Wing News, a website run by Townhall contributor John Hawkins.
“Social media IS the new public square,” Hawkins writes. “It’s the place you go when you want to reach out and find an audience,” except that “Facebook has for all intents and purposes announced that it’s killing off pages. So much for having a conservative voice there.”
A study by Western Journal found the algorithm change gave 25 left-leaning media organizations a 1.86 percent bump in Facebook traffic, while 25 right-leaning media outfits averaged a 13.71 percent drop.
These figures matter because record numbers of Americans now get their news from Facebook.
“Nearly half of all U.S. adults (45%) get news from Facebook,” a Pew Research Center study reports. “The share of U.S. adults who get news through Facebook is much higher than the share who get news through YouTube (18%), Twitter (11%), Instagram (7%), Snapchat (5%), LinkedIn (5%) and other platforms.”
Facebook only backed off of Trump boosters Diamond and Silk after its “shadow-banning”—covertly blocking or limiting the reach—of the popular page of Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson received national attention during a congressional hearing.
Diamond and Silk lamented that Facebook allows “appalling” things – “videos of people getting shot, killed, and beat up… they even show pictures of our President decapitated.”
Although all the women do is talk on camera, Facebook flagged their page as “unsafe to the community,” without elaborating. Grilled by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in that case “our team made an enforcement error and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”
Despite this encouraging reversal, Facebook continues to enable Muslim terrorists. Facebook has been named in a handful of lawsuits by survivors of recent terrorist attacks, for providing material support to groups such as Islamic State by failing to take down the pages of terrorist organizations. Facebook is also a safe place for Antifa, the self-styled “anti-fascist” terrorists who assault Trump supporters and shut down conservative and Republican events.
In 2016, former Facebook employees spilled the beans about the social media company’s censorship practices and promotion of fake news.
As summarized by Bre Payton of the Federalist:
The topics aren’t selected by an auto-generated algorithm, but by young, Ivy League-educated journalists called “news curators.” These individuals were instructed to adhere to the company’s biased guidelines and enabled to let their own agendas run amok. These individuals revealed they were instructed to blackball conservative publications like The Blaze and Breitbart.
… news curators were instructed to ignore certain news topics or events altogether, and told to place items on the list that Facebook users weren’t actually talking about enough to make the topics trend.
Whenever a conservative outlet would break a story, the news curators would wait until another “more neutral” news outlet had picked it up before placing it on the list of trending topics. News events were excluded from the list unless more traditional news outlets, such as CNN or BBC, picked it up first.
Facebook also deliberately suppressed legitimate news stories on topics such as Obama IRS official Lois Lerner’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups.
Now it seems anti-Americanism is built into Facebook’s algorithms: Facebook flagged the Declaration of Independence as hate speech last week apparently because the foundational document made unflattering observations about King George III. Facebook claimed the flagging was inadvertent and reversed the block.
“It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards,” Facebook wrote in an email to the media outlet that made the original post. “We want to apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”
Those who pay attention to Facebook’s censorship know better.
The idea of America itself goes against leftist Facebook’s beloved community standards. No wonder the Declaration of Independence set off alarm bells.