For years, conservative media outlets have complained that content posted to their Facebook pages was being censored, throttled and downgraded, oftentimes garnering only a few thousand clicks and views on pages with hundreds of thousands or even more than 1 million “likes.”
And for just as long, the editors and owners of those websites were rejected — told they didn’t know what they were talking about, that Facebook and the other social media giants don’t play political favorites, and that page likes and content has nothing at all to do with reach.
Most right-leaning publishers suspected those explanations were bunk and now, thanks to a revealing new report from The Wall Street Journal based on internal communications the paper obtained from whistleblowers, they have proof:
In June 2020, when America was rocked by protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, a Facebook employee posted a message on the company’s racial-justice chat board: “Get Breitbart out of News Tab.”
News Tab is a feature that aggregates and promotes articles from various publishers, chosen by Facebook. The employee’s message included screenshots of headlines on Breitbart’s website, such as “Minneapolis Mayhem: Riots in Masks,” “Massive Looting, Buildings in Flames, Bonfires!” and “BLM Protesters Pummel Police Cars on 101.”
The staffer justified the order by saying that the headlines were “emblematic of a concerted effort at Breitbart and similarly hyperpartisan sources (none of which belong in News Tab) to paint Black Americans and Black-led movements in a very negative way,” according to conversations from Facebook’s office communication systems seen by the Journal.
Several other employees sounded off in agreement.
In the same chat, a researcher with the company said that steps to remove Breitbart may face internal roadblocks due to potential political pushback.
“At best, it would be a very difficult policy discussion,” said the researcher, according the internal communications.
All said Facebook decided to keep Breitbart News in the News Tab. And a spokesperson for the social media behemoth claimed that content judgments are made on a case-by-case basis, not on Breitbart’s content, broadly. She also said that the material in question met Facebook’s standards and abided by rules against hate speech or misinformation.
“Many Republicans, from Mr. Trump down, say Facebook discriminates against conservatives. The documents reviewed by the Journal didn’t render a verdict on whether bias influences its decisions overall,” the WSJ reported.
“They do show that employees and their bosses have hotly debated whether and how to restrain right-wing publishers, with more-senior employees often providing a check on agitation from the rank and file. The documents viewed by the Journal, which don’t capture all of the employee messaging, didn’t mention equivalent debates over left-wing publications,” the paper reported.
There would have been instances of left-wing publications being censored provided to the Journal — or some mainstream publication — if they existed, if for no other reason than to mock and push back against the conservative narrative that the platform only targets right-leaning materials.
Meanwhile, another spokesman for the platform said content decisions are not political.
“We make changes to reduce problematic or low-quality content to improve people’s experiences on the platform, not because of a page’s political point of view,” said Andy Stone. “When it comes to changes that will impact public pages like publishers, of course we analyze the effect of the proposed change before we make it.”
And yet, there have been precious few instances of left-wing publications complaining about being censored or even deplatformed from Facebook or any of the other social media giants.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and Instagram are all part of the same big tech cabal: They control 90 percent of the social media information flow and they know it, so they use that power to push their own leftist political agenda.
Americans have the power to fight back: Get off those platforms.
Author: J.D. Heyes