Facebook founder threatens ‘hate speech’ crackdown ahead of midterm elections
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November 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – One week ahead of America’s midterm congressional elections, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the world’s largest social network is ramping up investments to combat “hate speech” on the internet, which conservatives fear is a pretext for discriminating against content challenging left-wing orthodoxy.
Facebook is undertaking its “biggest growth in money spent this year and next to combat hate speech, violent rhetoric and other content it deems offensive,” the Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday. The outlet quotes Zuckerberg as telling Wall Street analysts that election-related posting will display “all the good and bad that humanity can do,” and the election will be a “real test” of Facebook’s increased content regulation since 2016.
In remarks following his company’s quarterly earnings report, Zuckerberg added that the social giant’s efforts will “never be perfect” because there is no “silver bullet” for objectionable material and privacy violations. Even so, the Reporter paraphrases Zuckerberg as stressing that Facebook is “rapidly getting better at making sure as few of its users as possible see the bad stuff.”
Conservatives are wary of such talk, pointing to a series of events they argue shows Facebook to have far more partisan intentions.
The social media giant has come under fire for improperly restricting numerous conservative, pro-life, and pro-family figures, including Republican candidates, the “Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk, ex-gay speaker Joseph Sciambra, and numerous pro-life groups, videos, and ads.
Perhaps more alarmingly, Facebook insiders have admitted to intentionally suppressing conservative topics, and multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes last year disproportionately harmed conservatives.
Last month, Facebook purged without warning more than 559 political pages and 251 accounts for supposedly “inauthentic behavior,” which a spokesman later admitted “may have impacted more right-leaning hyper-partisan Pages."
“It's not by mistake, this happened weeks before the midterms,” said Brian Kolfage, an Iraq War veteran who ran the deleted Right Wing News page. “People are being punished for their simple beliefs – beliefs of freedom, beliefs of religion, beliefs on anything that differs from that status quo. If you have an alternate view, you're attacked – physically, financially and socially.”
The targets of Facebook’s crackdown aren’t the only ones critical of its actions, however. Last month, former Facebook engineer Brian Amerige, the author of an internal memo decrying the company’s “political monoculture,” resigned in protest. While claiming “senior company leadership” takes seriously the need for greater political diversity, Amerige nonetheless said he disagrees “too strongly with where we're heading on these issues to watch what happens next.”
“I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore,” he lamented, “and that's how I know it's time to go.”