Issues & Insights

Hey Facebook, Ban This!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Last week, we learned that Facebook had been banning posts suggesting that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab. We became aware only when Facebook announced that it would no longer ban such posts, raising the question of why it was doing so in the first place. It wasn’t as though there was no possibility that a lab leak was responsible. There was an ongoing discussion of this.

Then over the weekend, we learned that Facebook apparently has plans to ban posts that might encourage “vaccine hesitancy.” What does that mean? Who knows. Facebook never reveals how it makes such decisions.

“Anything that questions the vaccine or the narrative regarding the vaccine, which is, you know, everyone should get the vaccine and the vaccine is good and you’re not going to get many bad side effects, anything outside of that realm is basically considered under ‘vaccine hesitancy’ by Facebook’s algorithms,” Morgan Kahmann, a former data center technician for Facebook, told Fox News.

How does Facebook justify this? It doesn’t. In one section of its “Community Standards” document, Facebook flatly denies that it removes “false news” posts. It says “we do not remove false news from Facebook but we significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in News Feed.”

We’ve run into Facebook’s horrible “false news” attacks ourselves. One of our posts – correctly – stated that then-candidate Joe Biden wanted to outlaw gas-powered cars. That was based on Biden’s own campaign promises. Facebook flagged the headline as false – not the editorial – based on a bogus fact check. Facebook readership of the editorial crashed as a result.

It happened again when Facebook moved to block distribution of an article we published on COVID-19 rates in the U.S., in which we noted how infection rates in Europe at the time were far higher than the U.S., yet the U.S. – or more particularly, President Donald Trump – was being blamed for a massive failure to contain the disease. As with the Biden editorial, readership crashed as soon as Facebook slapped its “partly false” label on it.

Facebook has been not only removing COVID-19 stories it doesn’t like, but posts regarding election fraud as well, according to ABC News.

“Starting today, we will reduce the distribution of all posts in News Feed from an individual’s Facebook account if they repeatedly share content that has been rated by one of our fact-checking partners. We already reduce a single post’s reach in News Feed if it has been debunked,” Facebook announced.

“Whether it’s false or misleading content about COVID-19 and vaccines, climate change, elections or other topics, we’re making sure fewer people see misinformation on our apps.”

In other words, instead of learning its lesson from its coronavirus lab leak disaster, Facebook is doubling down on its censorship campaign.

Well, we’ve had enough.

We hope the following list of claims causes Facebook’s algorithms and “fact checkers” to seize up.

  • All vaccines, including COVID vaccines, can have side effects.
  • COVID lockdowns were a catastrophic waste.
  • Mask mandates have been ineffective.
  • BLM is a Marxist-led group.
  • Critical Race Theory is itself racist.
  • There are only two genders.
  • Anthony Fauci has some serious skeletons in his closet.
  • Election fraud is real and happened in 2020.
  • Biden wants to ban gasoline cars.
  • Electric cars are dirty.
  • Hamas is a terrorist group.
  • ANTIFA is a terrorist group.
  • The Jan. 6 Capitol “riot” wasn’t an armed insurrection.
  • Recycling is a waste of time and money.
  • Global warming science is not settled.
  • “Trust the science” makes no sense.
  • Government is not the answer to our problems.
  • Trump has been right about a lot of things.

If we’re lucky, this will get banned on Facebook, and Twitter, and YouTube, and every other social media platform except those that actually believe in free speech. And we hope it gets us flagged by the U.S. Postal Service for whatever it is the USPS is tracking for the Feds.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

5 comments

  • While I think it’s a damned shame that anybody should arrogate the right to censor public discourse, it nevertheless seems to me that facebook does have a right to decide what appears on their (privately owned?) servers, just as you have a right to state “Getting comments posted on this site is a privilege, not a right. We review every one before posting.” Yes, they’re more of a public utility than I&I, but the right to decide what’s published lies within their discretion, just as it resides in yours.

    Still, I hope they gag on your list of forbidden topics. Dunno if that’d be poetic justice, but it’d certainly be well deserved.

    The real problem, though, is that almost nobody has cared enough to stand on his hind legs and call ’em out on this issue, that there’s been no crowd voice raised condemning their practice. The whole thing has been met with a collective yawn .. and *that* is frightening. We are, indeed, becoming a nation of sheeple!

  • With all due respect, I&I doesn’t have the reach or power of the BIG TECH giants, especially Facebook. Their banning of specific news stories helped elect our current excuse for a president. They shape the news in ways never imagined. So many people get what passes for news from these entities and they are all heavily censored. These guys have nothing on the so-called Robber Barons. They are doing much more harm than those folks ever did.

  • Hard to believe that you only just learned about Facebook‘s hyper restrictive algorithms banning nearly all the initiatives of conservatives. Aren’t you a media watcher and leading critic? In which hole have you been in

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About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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