|Thanks Breitbart for this explanatory illustration.
Midterm meddling: Twitter follows Facebook & blacklists GOP candidate’s family story of immigration from Cambodia
In a 16 August 2-18 Breitbart article, Facebook and Twitter have been shown to be stifling political speech in California again.
Twitter has followed in Facebook’s footsteps by blocking a campaign video ad for Republican congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng. Facebook eventually admitted that a campaign video including the communist atrocities in Cambodia is not “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational,” but Twitter, which describes the ad as “obscene,” disagrees.
Shortly after Facebook came under fire for refusing to allow Republican Congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng to advertise with her campaign ad on their platform, Twitter has made the same decision. Facebook blocked the ad, which shared the story of Heng’s family being forced to flee Cambodia for the U.S., claiming that the Facebook couldn’t allow videos that contained “shocking, disrespectful, or sensational” imagery on their advertising platform. The ad was eventually approved with a Facebook spokesperson stating: “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story. We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.” A decision Twitter apparently disagrees with.
Twitter has blacklisted the campaign ad, according to Heng. The Heng campaign stated in a press release: “In recent attempts to advertise Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video on Twitter, the campaign has received a message from the company stating that upon review, the ad is ‘ineligible to participate in the Twitter Ads program at this time based on our Inappropriate Content policy.’ Twitter defined inappropriate content as ‘that which is offensive, vulgar, or obscene.’”
Heng’s advertising refusal comes shortly after Infowars host Alex Jones received a seven-day suspension on the platform and many Twitter users reported a decline in followers as Twitter purged accounts from its platform.
(Read more at Breitbart)
Did Twitter find the images of Pol Pot’s Cambodia offensive, vulgar, or obscene? That is, did the brutality of a communist regime offend the millennial sensibilities of Twitter? Or was it scenes of Fresno’s deteriorating storefronts that offended Twitter?
If it was the images of the results of economic radicals like Pol Pot, will Twitter, Google, or Facebook block video of Patriot’s Day?
Facebook opens up on vote meddling
A 4 August 2018 Associated Press article points out how Facebook has admitted to vote meddling (however, it does not mention the removal of conservative Brazilian pages or similar actions by Facebook).
For a company bent on making the world more open, Facebook has long been secretive about the details of how it runs its social network — particularly how things go wrong and what it does about them.
Yet on Tuesday, Facebook rushed forward to alert Congress and the public that it had recently detected a small but “sophisticated” case of possible Russian election manipulation. Has the social network finally acknowledged the need to keep the world informed about the big problems it’s grappling with, rather than doing so only when dragged kicking and screaming to the podium?
While the unprompted revelation does signal a new, albeit tightly controlled openness for the company, there is still plenty that Facebook isn’t saying. Many experts remain unconvinced that this is a true culture change and not mere window dressing.
“This is all calculated very carefully,” said Timothy Carone, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame. He and other analysts noted that Facebook announced its discovery of 32 accounts and pages intended to stir up U.S. political discord just a week after the company’s stock dropped almost 20 percent — its worst plunge since going public.
But Facebook’s proactive disclosure, including a conference call for reporters with chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, struck a markedly different tone from the company’s ham-handed approach to a string of scandals and setbacks over the past two years. That has included:
- CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous dismissal of the idea that fake news on Facebook could have influenced the 2016 election as “a pretty crazy idea”;
- The company’s foot-dragging as evidence mounted of a 2016 Russian election-interference effort conducted on Facebook and other social-media sites;
- Zuckerberg, again, declining for nearly a week to publicly address the privacy furor over a Trump campaign consultant, Cambridge Analytica, that scavenged data from tens of millions of Facebook users for its own election-influence efforts.
A chastened Facebook has since taken steps toward transparency, many of them easy to overlook. In April, it published for the first time the detailed guidelines its moderators use to police unacceptable material. It has provided additional, if partial, explanations of how it collects user data and what it does with it. And it has forced disclosure of the funding and audience targeting of political advertisements, which it now also archives for public scrutiny.
Facebook said its timing was motivated by an upcoming protest event in Washington that was promoted by a suspicious page connected to a Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency. Several people connected to the IRA have been indicted by the U.S. special counsel for attempting to interfere in the 2016 election.
Despite Zuckerberg’s repeated mantra — delivered to relentless effect in some 10 hours of testimony before Congress in April — that the company now really gets it, some who know the company best have their doubts.
David Kirkpatrick, the author a Facebook history, argues that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg have ever shown themselves to be “deeply alarmed in public.” As a result, he suggests, Facebook seems more concerned with managing its image than with solving the actual problem at hand.
Such issues run deep for the company. Some of its biggest critics, including former employees such as Sandy Parakilas and early Facebook investor Roger McNamee, say the company needs to revamp its business model from the ground up to see any meaningful change.
These critics would like to see Facebook rely less on tracking its users in order to sell targeted advertising, and to cut back on addicting features such as endless notifications that keep drawing people back in. Parakilas, for example, has advocated for a subscription-based model, letting users pay to user Facebook instead of having their data harvested.
Merely hiring more moderators, or hanging hopes on the evolution of artificial intelligence, isn’t going to cut it, in their view. There have also been widespread calls for Facebook to acknowledge that it is, in a sense, a media company, responsible for what happens on its platforms — a characterization the social network has long fought.
For all that, Facebook is well ahead of Silicon Valley rivals such as Google and Twitter when it comes to openness — even if only because it’s attracted the lion’s share of criticism, said Paul Levinson, a media studies professor at Fordham University.
But Facebook “can’t win at this game,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a University of Virginia professor of media studies whose 2018 book “Antisocial Media” critiques Facebook’s effect on democracy and society. Because it’s so huge — 2.2 billion global users and counting — and so difficult to police, he said, “it will always be vulnerable to hijacking and will never completely clean up its content.”
(Read more at the Associated Press)
This is not big news. So what if Facebook caves again to the socialist forces that would limit free speech. This allows the media giant to feel good about itself. Too bad Facebook could not learn from the lessons provided by Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, and George Orwell.
Then again, there was the example of Barack Obama.
Twitter takes a stab at silencing the “shitty people”
In the following undercover video, the interviewer got Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety, to admit that “we’re trying to get the ‘shitty people’ not to show up.”
Spotify, Apple, Google, and Facebook purge the free speech rights of Alex Jones of InfoWars
In the insightful fiction from the middle of the last century (1984 by George Orwell), the author saw the deleterious effect of a central government that controlled everything down to speech and thought. That insight came from exposure to governments that attempted to provide everything to the working class — down to what we should think.
Even with these cautionary tales, a number of media giants (Spotify, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook) have taken up the task of limiting the free speech rights of others.
The rise of corporate censorship
A 7 August 2018 Spiked Online article delves into censorship by the online media giants.
So we’re now trusting the capitalist class, massive, unaccountable corporations, to decide on our behalf what we may listen to and talk about? This is the take-home message, the terrible take-home message, of the expulsion of Alex Jones’ Infowars network from Apple, Facebook and Spotify and of the wild whoops of delight that this summary banning generated among so-called liberals: that people are now okay with allowing global capitalism to govern the public sphere and to decree what is sayable and what is unsayable. Corporate censorship, liberals’ new favourite thing – how bizarre.
We live in strange times. On one hand it is fashionable to hate capitalism these days. No middle-class home is complete without a Naomi Klein tome; making memes of Marx is every twentysomething Corbynistas’ favourite pastime. But on the other hand we seem content to trust Silicon Valley, the new frontier in corporate power, to make moral judgements about what kind of content people should be able to see online. Radicals and liberals declared themselves ‘very glad’ that these business elites enforced censorship against Jones and Infowars. We should be ‘celebrating the move’, said Vox, because ‘it represents a crucial step forward in the fight against fake news’. Liberals for capitalist censorship! The world just got that bit odder, and less free.
Over the past 24 hours, Jones and much of his Infowars channel has been ‘summarily banned’ – in the excitable words of Vox – from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube. Initially, Facebook and YouTube had taken only selective measures against Jones. In response to a Twitterstorm about his presence on these platforms, they took down some of his videos. But then Apple decided to ban Jones entirely – removing all episodes of his podcast from its platform – and the other online giants followed suit. Or as the thrilled liberal commentary put it: ‘The dominoes started to fall.’ Despite having millions of subscribers, despite there being a public interest in what he has to say, Jones has been cast out of the world of social media, which is essentially the public square of the 21st century, on the basis that what he says is wicked.
This is censorship. There will of course be apologists for the corporate control of speech, on both the left and right, who will say, ‘It’s only censorship when the government does it!’. They are so wrong. When enormous companies that have arguably become the facilitators of public debate expel someone and his ideas because they find them morally repugnant, that is censorship. Powerful people have deprived an individual and his network of a key space in which they might propagate their beliefs. Aka censorship.
(Read more at Spiked Online)
The Real Reason for the Left’s Double Standard on Hate Speech
Having used the ideas of Dr. Brown as much as they aligned with my own, I again find myself dipping from the well of Dr. Michael Brown’s thought (which often appears in OneNewsNow and TownHall) in his 9 August 2018 article on the left’s propensity to excuse its own hate speech.
Why is it that organizations like the SPLC can designate conservative Christians as hate groups while ignoring radical leftists like Antifa? Why is that Facebook and Google and YouTube and Twitter appear to punish conservatives disproportionately for alleged violations of community guidelines?
The answer is as disturbing as it is simple. The left believes it is so morally and intellectually superior to the right that it can see nothing wrong with its extreme positions and hostile words. Is it wrong to be intolerant of bigots? Is it wrong to hate (or even punch) a Nazi?
In short, if I’m a member of the KKK, is it wrong for you to disparage and mock me? If I’m a dangerous homophobe, is it wrong for you to vilify and exclude me? If I’m a hate-filled propogandist spreading dangerous lies, is it wrong for you to mark me and marginalize me?
Of course, there are double standards on all sides of the debate, on the right as well as on the left. And there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around, from the most progressive to the most conservative.
All of us also have our share of blind spots, so we tend to condemn in others what we justify in ourselves. Welcome to human nature.
Still, it is conspicuous that the same behavior gets treated differently by the leftist elite (including many a university professor) and by watchdog groups like the SPLC and by the internet giants.
Back in 2004-05, when I first began to address gay activism, I was widely mocked for saying, “Those who came out of the closet want to put us in the closet.”
The response was consistent: “No one wants to put you in the closet!”
A few years back, I noticed a change in tone: “Bigots like you belong in the closet!”
But of course!
While being interviewed on a Christian TV program back in 2011, I quoted the comment of a Christian attorney. He told me that those who were once put in jail (speaking of pioneer gay activists) will want to put us in jail.
For having the audacity to say this on Christian TV, I was vilified and maligned.
Yet when Kim Davis was jailed in 2015 for refusing a court order to grant same-sex marriage licenses, there was widespread rejoicing on the left: “Kim Davis is ISIS! Lock her up!”
(Read more at AskDrBrown.org)
NBC ignores an Antifa attack on its own reporter and crew
A 12 August 2018 NewsBusters article illustrates how a “news” outlet self-censors a significant story about a group who would really repress the free press.
On the one-year anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville protests, white supremacists and radical leftists known as Antifa descended on the Virginia town once more to commit more violence. Late Saturday night, NBC News reporter Cal Perry and his crew were in the thick of it as Antifa members ganged up on them and attacked. The next morning, NBC’s Sunday Today ignored the attack and suggested the media was simply “heckled” by their assaulters.
On Twitter, Perry was documenting the protesters as they marched through the streets of college town when they started to get “very aggressive with the media” and trying to block their camera shots. “Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera,” he responded to one Twitter commenter telling him to “f**k off national media vulture.”
Things got super-heated when one Antifa protestor shouted “F**k you, snitch a** news b**ch. F**k you” and tried to either pull the camera away from the person using it or knock it to the ground. It was unclear in the video.
Despite the video evidence on the ground from their own reporter, NBC went to Garrett Haake, who was at the White House in anticipation of violence there as another white supremacist rally was set to be held. “Overnight, tense moments in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, strong far left protesters heckling the media and chanting anti-police slogans,” he suggested at the top of his report. They actually used footage Perry and his crew shot but didn’t show anything from their attack.
The assault on NBC’s reporter came almost a year since their political director, Chuck Todd used his MSNBC program, MTP Daily to elevate Antifa’s violence as a legitimate tactic against the right. He even doubled down and allowed them to use the formerly prestigious Meet the Press as a platform to push their hate and violent methods. Todd has never condemned them.
Todd appeared on Sunday Today and had nothing to say about the attack or Antifa, which had been declared a domestic terrorism group by the State of New Jersey before he had them on last year. Instead of condemning Antifa, he lambasted the President for criticizing anthem protesters and targeted his supporters as racists.
“So I don’t think, if the President is, quote, ‘learned anything’ I think in his mind, he has seen this is an effective political strategy to keep his base, his base,” he declared about what the President had learned since last year’s violence. “That it is the president’s continuation of using to be generous, dog whistles, others say they’re not silent. You can hear the whistles pretty loudly.”
It’s sad and disturbing that NBC would choose to ignore violent leftists assaulting their own employees in exchange for railing against President Trump’s voters, but this appears to be the world we live in now. The assault also came after the entire liberal media had been trying to convince the public that Trump supporters where violent ones reporters had to watch out for.
(Read more at NewsBusters)
I have always been warned not to “cut off my nose to spite my face.” It looks like NBC let its nose get cut off and then dared the rest of us not to notice the profuse bleeding.
Patreon and Mastercard ban Robert Spencer without explanation
Jihad Watch reports in a 15 August 2018 article that Robert Spencer has been banned by Patreon and Mastercard without explanation. Nonetheless, this banning likely stems from his shining the light of truth on Islam.
Recently Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes have been banned from various social media platforms, in a desperate attempt by the Left to ensure that the 2016 election results aren’t repeated in 2018. Some people say it doesn’t matter that these men were deplatformed, because they don’t like what they say, and what’s more, these are all private companies. They are indeed private companies, but they have a virtual monopoly today over the means of communication, and once they start banning people because they don’t like what they say, they’ve set a precedent that is inimical to the survival of a free society.
If only approved viewpoints can be aired, we live in a totalitarian state, not a free society, and the effects of this will reverberate in our lives in ways we cannot imagine. If you think that the banning will stop when those who are deemed “crazy” or “extremist” are all banned, you’re in for a surprise.
Yesterday, they came for me, albeit in not yet as thoroughgoing a manner as the way they went after Jones and McInnes.
(Read more at Jihad Watch)