We’ve all heard about the dangers of social media and its effect on young minds. However one aspect of this that people don’t think about is how the type of content allowed on social media affects our kids’ realities.
Facebook, and by association Instagram, has been earnestly imposing its politically correct “community standards” on all of us to enforce a hate-speech-free zone – as they define it anyways. How do they do this? Well by banning anything people don’t like of course!
Zero Hedge has come into the spotlight this month due to a seemingly fickle Facebook banning algorithm — which first banned the alternative news outlet entirely and then reverse its decision and unbanned the URL (web address).
Never heard of Zero Hedge? Bloomberg explains:
“Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has built a dedicated following by serving up a mix of hardcore financial analysis and populist political commentary.”
All Zero Hedge writers to hide their identities by posting their articles under the pseudonym Tyler Durden – the fictional narrator of the 1999 film, “Fight Club,” starring Brad Pitt. The website’s tagline is also taken from the cult classic:
“On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
On Monday, March 11, 2019, Facebook suddenly blocked all sharing of Zero Hedge articles. Users like Ollie Richardson who attempted to do so encountered this pop-up alert:
“You can’t go to this link from Facebook. The link that you tried to visit goes against our Community Standards.”
The next day, March 12, an article published on Zero Hedge described how puzzled the company was over news from their readership that Facebook sharing privileges had been revoked:
“Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles. Subsequently, it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network.”
Zero Hedge was indeed mystified as to why Facebook targeted their content for suppression:
“Unfortunately, as noted above, we still don’t know what exact event precipitated this censorship, and any attempts to get feedback from the company with the $500 billion market cap, have so far remained unanswered.”
Zero Hedge tried to be understanding about the situation, defending private company Facebook’s right to invent and impose its own standards of conduct for its no-charge users to follow:
“To be sure, as a for-profit enterprise with its own unique set of corporate ‘ethics,’ Facebook has every right to impose whatever filters it desires on the media shared on its platform. It is entirely possible that one or more posts were flagged by Facebook’s ‘triggered’ readers who merely alerted a censorship algo which blocked all content.”
But then, Zero Hedge speculated that they had become the latest victim of media muzzling by a leading social media provider:
“Alternatively, it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s ‘many problems,’ including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).”
Ouch, baby, ouch.
The folks over at Zero Hedge invited Facebook to have a “constructive dialog over the company’s decision to impose a blanket ban on Zero Hedge content” – but noted no one there would “lose much sleep if that fails to occur” because “unlike other websites, we are lucky in that only a tiny fraction of our inbound traffic originates at Facebook, with most of our readers arriving here directly without the aid of search engines (Google banned us from its News platform, for reasons still unknown, shortly after the Trump victory) or referrals.”
Zero Hedge staffers predicted that growing “political, regulatory and market scrutiny for its arbitrary internal decisions on what content to promote and what to snuff” will only fuel Facebook’s loss of user engagement. Rising costs to sift through all their user data for “inappropriate” content will work against the social media giant who will be regarded as a place in cyberspace where no open discourse, free speech, or non-mainstream views will be tolerated.
The next day, March 13, Zero Hedge blazoned this headline over another article:
Facebook Reverses Zero Hedge Ban, Says It Made A “Mistake”
Again, Zero Hedge expressed surprise at having been banned from Facebook shares for two days, especially since “not only do we not have an official Facebook account, but Facebook did not approach us even once with a warning or even notification.”
Zero Hedge made a large pitcher of lemonade from Facebook’s public relations lemon it handed down:
“While we were in the dark about what had triggered Facebook, or what was the company’s motive, we were humbled and delighted not only with the media coverage this event received, but far more so with the outpouring of support we received from readers and across social media, where Zero Hedge had not been yet banned, like Twitter, where figures from various industries and across the political spectrum voiced support and came to our defense, with many condemning what we felt was an arbitrary decision.”
The President’s son, The Donald Jr., tweeted his outrage, calling the play as he saw it:
“The censorship continues. How does @zerohedge’s content not ‘meet community standards?’ FB doesn’t agree with them and they hit the platform’s obvious flaws at times. That’s it and it’s disgusting!”
Leave it to another non-mainstream news source that gets no respect from the political Left – Breitbart – to break Facebook’s official response:
“This was a mistake with our automation to detect spam and we worked to fix it yesterday. We use a combination of human review and automation to enforce our policies around spam and in this case, our automation incorrectly blocked this link. As soon as we identified the issue, we worked quickly to fix it.”
Oops, baby, oops.