Some of us (especially those who lean a little to the Right politically) may have been flagged for “violating community standards” by Facebook. Sometimes, even something quite innocuous or tongue-in-cheek can be “automatically” deleted. Actually, it is not the entire fault of algorithms as some would believe. I have friends (many followers) who used a few “offensive” words and got banned. At the same time, there are folks who used exactly the same words (few followers) and didn’t get banned. Then there are a couple of exceptional ones who don’t have many friends but still get banned. Why is this so?
Well, I believe it has something to do with your followers. The more followers you have, the more likely you are to have haters too. Of course, some people have few followers because they annoy everybody but when enough of haters (obvious or hidden) flag your content as inappropriate, there is a knee jerk reaction from FB to ban you. It’s also true that some of your more politically sensitive content will not be seen by many even if you make them public. It’s a little like TikTok censorship and even though FB was not quite there yet, make no mistake that social media can be weaponised by politicians.
Enter Frances Haugen, a former Facebook executive who might have seemed like a regular whistleblower when she pointed out that the social media giant puts “astronomical profits before people”, harming children and “destabilising democracy” via the sharing of “inaccurate and divisive” content. Haugen likened the appeal of Instagram to tobacco, telling senators: “It’s just like cigarettes … teenagers don’t have good self-regulation.”
I’m personally concerned about the woke movement dictating what we can say and using cancel culture on folks who are simply less than puritanical. But Haugen has shied away from challenging the radical Left. Does Facebook censor “conservative” views more than it censors “liberal” views? I can’t be sure. But the tremendous amount of support that Haugen got from Democrats is rather interesting.
Haugen’s call for regulation of Facebook was expansive and ambitious. She asked lawmakers to “break out of previous regulatory frames.” She also warned lawmakers that some of the most widely debated proposals, including privacy protections or tweaks to Section 230, a decades-old law that protects companies from lawsuits over what users post, would be insufficient. In other words, she is pushing for social media platforms to be held responsible for content shared or created by their users.
Jiang (video below) highlighted a curious observation in this saga. When challenged about whether she’s concerned about (unequal) political censorship on Facebook and other big data companies, Haugen deflected the question. Jiang points out that Facebook is obviously leaning to the Left. Conservative statements and postings have been more frequently flagged as inappropriate. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton stepped forward and supported Haugen, accusing tech companies of building audiences for fear, hatred and misinformation for the sake of profit.
But let’s be honest. Has Haugen revealed anything about Facebook which we don’t already know? She didn’t even mention the menacing woke movement that had an easy ride on FB. So is this a crusade against Facebook? Clearly not. Republican Matt Walsh twitted his observations.
Talk about transparency. Haugen has donated 36 times to the Democrats. No prizes for guessing which side she’s on. Is this a conspiracy with Haugen playing the crusader trying to justify Facebook’s intention to step up censorship and in particular against the Right. It sounds disturbing like what’s going on in China. Is FB trying to get its ban lifted in China? It would be a good example of 连环计。
And true enough, Facebook issues a statement assuring the public that “new rules” will apply. We may still not know what the new “standard rules” are, but this latest saga is a good excuse to pave the way towards greater censorship and political bias. On TikTok, a video that is not “politically correct” will only be visible to the the originator. Will that happen on FB too?