Facebook might change policies to censor Trump after all, Zuckerberg hints
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June 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Under pressure from his own employees, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted the social network may change its policies in a way that opens the door to censoring the President of the United States, just days after he publicly criticized Twitter’s decision to do so.
Twitter set off a firestorm last week when it placed a “fact-check” on a Trump tweet pertaining to the fraud potential of mail-in voting, then censoring another tweet stating that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” pertaining to the Minneapolis riots. The company claimed that tweet was “glorifying violence.”
“Our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” Zuckerberg said Friday. “We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies. Although the post had a troubling historical reference, we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.”
Many left-wingers within the company did not take kindly to their boss’ stance. Several took to social media to publicly declare that “doing nothing (about Trump’s tweets) is not acceptable,” and that Zuckerberg’s mind needs to be changed. Several hundred employees also staged a “virtual walkout,” refusing to work in protest of Zuckerberg’s stance.
Some of the pressure may already be getting to Zuckerberg. The Verge reported that the Facebook chief addressed the matter again during a Friday video conference, during which he suggested that the company’s policy may “evolve” yet again in response.
“There is a real question coming out of this, which is whether we want to evolve our policy around the discussion of state use of force,” Zuckerberg said. “Over the coming days, as the National Guard is now deployed, probably the largest one that I would worry about would be excessive use of police or military force. I think there’s a good argument that there should be more bounds around the discussion around that.”
Few conservatives would be surprised by such a turnaround, given Facebook’s history of suppressing conservative content under vague or false pretenses. Multiple analyses have found that algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Last year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.
Most recently, Facebook has made itself an arbiter of “misinformation” and “harmful” speech related to the COVID-19 outbreak, with critics objecting that Facebook has crossed the line from merely quashing objectively false claims to censoring legitimate protest organizing and factual information that conflicts with the interests of the World Health Organization, which has been accused of covering for the Chinese government’s complicity in letting COVID-19 spread across the world.
Last Thursday, after Twitter placed a “fact-check” on a Trump tweet pertaining to the fraud potential of mail-in voting, the president signed an executive order aimed at tweaking how federal agencies interpret and enforce Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which immunizes websites from potentially being held liable for the third-party content they host.
The order essentially directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to propose an administrative rule that would “spell out what it means for the tech giants to carry out their takedown policies ‘in good faith,’” national security attorney Stewart Baker explained.