April showers may bring May flowers, but they’re also revealing Facebook’s censorship power. Despite repeated denials that the organization does not monitor or censor accounts, Facebook’s April 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report tells a different story: Facebook eliminated hundreds of accounts, groups and pages.
According to the April report, coordinated inauthentic behavior resulted in the removal of eight networks of Facebook accounts, Pages and Groups.
The majority of the networks that were taken down last month were still trying to grow their audience or had a large portion of engagement on their Pages generated by their own accounts.
- Total number of Facebook accounts removed: 732
- Total number of Instagram accounts removed: 162
- Total number of Pages removed: 793
- Total number of Groups removed: 200
Conservative voices and news sources have been very successful at spreading their messages on Facebook, much to the chagrin of left-leaning individuals and entities who want to be held to a different standard than their right-leaning counterparts.
Protection for blocking and screening of offensive material is found in 47 U.S. Code § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996, states that an “interactive computer service” cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker of third-party content. This laws protects websites from being held liable if a user posts something illegal, although there are exceptions for copyright violations, sex work-related material, and violations of federal criminal law.
Congress’ findings include: that the Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and a myriad of avenues for intellectual activity; that no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by content providers; and that the competitive free market that exists on the Internet should be unfettered by Federal or State regulation.
The self-effacing social media giant has appointed itself as the arbiter of free political speech. Users who violate its policies face censorship or removal from the Facebook platform. In recent years, Facebook has progressed nonplussed through a plethora of criticism of its censorship policies.
At the recent Munich Security Conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, called on Western governments to provide regulatory guidance for how social media companies can identify the boundaries of “what discourse should be allowed” on their platforms.
Ironically, Zuckerberg’s states, “We need to make sure that the internet can continue to be a place where everyone can share their views openly and where the legal framework around this is one that encodes democratic values.”
His defense of free speech is a farce, contradicted by the systematically-gathered data gathered in the 2020 report.
The American approach to political speech has always been to promote more counter speech. The media are the entities responsible for informing the public of the truth. But Facebook is touting its readiness to censor and remove users whose content has not been approved. Left-leaning media outlets approve of this censorship and control of the nation’s daily narrative.
So how does censoring free political speech on its social media platform make the internet a place where everyone can share their views openly? It doesn’t. American citizens have been deceived into giving up their personal information willingly by a social platform that helped its users stay connected to one another.
Little did they know that they had willingly given their information to a greedy government that uses this information to exploit and manipulate its citizens. Political power moguls, including Zuckerberg, continue to push the narrative, that if it isn’t good for society, it isn’t good for Facebook, and vice versa.
Replete with an entire set of tools to suppress conservative political speech, the Facebook team has grown to over 200 people with expertise ranging from open source research, to threat investigations, cyber security, law enforcement and national security, investigative journalism, engineering, product development, data science and academic studies in disinformation, according to the report.
One of Facebook’s tools in use is “ActionDeboostLiveDistribution,” which is a code that reportedly quashes the distribution of live content from certain pages, without warning being sent to the users.
Facebook keeps to monitor for efforts to re-establish a presence on Facebook by networks that have been previously removed for CIB. Using both automated and manual detection, the company continuously removes accounts and Pages connected to networks that were taken down in the past, according to the report.
Facebook promises more censorship is on the way and why should they? Their monetary tentacles have reached out and addicted 2.5 billion users who get their fixes daily by actively engaging with family and friends. With 400 new users signing up for the platform each minute, it’s no wonder that the tech giant has a strong foothold on Wall Street. Who else could control north of three billion users globally? And they do it everyday.
If free political speech were fostered and supported to counter “fake” news, the preponderance of the evidence would show that Facebook’s geo-political teams would be unnecessary, as conservative voices are pushing the truth.