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October 28, 2016 8:57 am

Is Facebook Two-Faced?

avatar by Zahava Englard

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Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

What was supposed to be a forum for expression has become a platform of suppression.

This is the fourth time I’ve been banned from Facebook for “violating community standards.” A vague charge, to be sure, but I am in good company, for apparently I share the same “MO” as many of my co-offenders. I am pro-Israel, politically conservative and outspoken against the ills of liberal extremism and hypocritical political correctness, as well as Islamic-inspired terrorism and the threat of global jihad.

Like my fellow offenders, I have extremist leftist trolls visiting my wall, who regularly report my posts to the Facebook authorities. They do this because they know that Facebook is anything but a safe place for free expression. That is to say, it is not a safe place for expressing views that are pro-Israel and politically conservative. They know that when they report people like me they will likely achieve the results they seek — to silence those who challenge their worldview. The fact that our posts do not contain hate speech or promote violence is irrelevant. I dare say Facebook established an entire department of trolls specifically to monitor those annoying right-wingers and double down on those who are pro-Israel/Zionists to boot.

Though Facebook has rules against hate speech and promoting terrorism, it is interesting to note that pages promoting terrorism against Jews and Israel — and even vividly display how to murder them — do not necessarily go against its “community standards.” One treads on thin ice, however, when writing posts that include terms such as “Muslim terrorists.”

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This leads me to wonder what Mark Zuckerberg is getting out of this censorship policy. Does it project his or someone else’s personal agenda? Is Facebook merely one among a myriad of cogs of the mainstream media, which is so blatantly biased against Israel and political conservatism? And who is controlling that? Were I to suggest a globalist cabal or Muslim Brotherhood influence, I would be derided as a neurotic conspiratorialist. But can any independent liberal thinker reasonably deny the existence of this bias, if not outright censorship? A consensus across the political divide ought to acknowledge that this form of arbitrary censorship in the hands of an informational medium of significant power and influence is to no small extent foreboding. At the very least, it is troubling that Facebook wields substantial control in disseminating information.

We are living in times when disinformation is dignified and factual reporting discredited. The most profound casualty in this war on facts is freedom of speech. With the “flagging” feature on Facebook, governments, organizations, corporations and interest groups can control thought and hamper debate.

The bottom line? While governments may seemingly protect free speech, Facebook does not and its users are at the mercy of its censors. It is true that one may simply choose to log off. But since Facebook is the primary social medium, such a choice is actually not advantageous, and retreat at this juncture is not an option. Indeed, Facebook’s unique brand of containment must be unceasingly challenged.

The truth has a way of inevitably prevailing over repression, and freedom of speech, though battered and broken, will once again generate honest discourse. Until then, however, the damage along the way will be devastating.

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