Monday, 03 September 2018

Facebook Confessed PragerU Hit by Ideological Censorship

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Now that Facebook has finally explained how 99 percent of PragerU’s conservative videos were censored, it's clear how dangerous one employee — and a group of ideologically motivated users — can be. For it was one employee, spurred by those ideologues, who shut down Prager’s content.

The social media behemoth apologized for the censorship, reported two weeks ago at The New American, and restored the videos in question. But Facebook only later divulged what happened.

Conservatives users won’t like it. Leftists will be overjoyed. It’s a warning. Watch out. If your posts get censored, complain.

What Happened

Founded by radio talker Dennis Prager, PragerU found that Facebook’s censors cracked down on nine of the “university’s” video lessons.

According to PragerU, “Internal Facebook analytics reveal that as of Thursday, Aug. 16, at 10:00 PM PDT, posts by PragerU on the social media platform have been completely invisible to its more than 3 million followers.” At the time, PragerU’s Will Witt wrote, “our last 9 posts have been completely censored reaching 0 of our 3 million followers. At least two of our video posts were deleted last night for ‘hate speech’ including a post of our recent video with The Conservative Millennial, Make Men Masculine Again.”

The Facebook attack came “just days after discovering that 47 additional PragerU videos have been restricted by YouTube. This brings the total number of PragerU videos restricted on YouTube to 88, or more than 10 percent of educational nonprofit’s entire online media library.”

Facebook apologized after Witt’s complaint, saying “we mistakenly removed these videos and have restored them because they don't break our standards. This will reverse any reduction in content distribution you’ve experienced. We’re very sorry and are continuing to look into what happened with your Page.”

Ideological Censorship

But PragerU finally got the truth: Ideological censors were trying to shut down Prager.

As Breitbart reported, Facebook confessed that the videos were removed because “a large number of users flagged the PragerU posts as inappropriate. The videos were then sent to a content review team where one of the employees reviewed them and decided to remove the videos as ‘hate speech.’ Facebook told PragerU that the employee behind the removal of the videos and limiting of its Facebook page will be re-trained to better understand Facebook’s guidelines.”

With all the complaints from conservatives about social media censorship of their views, you’d think the retraining might have already been done. One idea might be something like the “diversity” or “sensitivity” training corporate America forces upon employees after someone offends an officially designated victim, which in turn causes a moral panic discussed ad nauseum on the front page of The New York Times.

Anyway, Facebook denied that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the discredited group that smears anyone with whom it disagrees, was behind the censorship. But Facebook’s denial was somewhat interesting, at least as Breitbart described it:

Facebook replied that the SPLC does not write their hate speech policy but they send content that they think is hateful and Facebook review team reviews that. Facebook said that the SPLC is no different than any other group and that anyone can suggest hateful content. Facebook was adamant that the SPLC had nothing to do with the issues that PragerU faced.

But how would Facebook know that individual SPLC employees — or readers of SPLC’s defamatory claims at its website — weren’t among the users who attacked PragerU?

Multi-Platform Censorship

Conservatives have been complaining about social media censorship for some time, particularly with the attack on Alex Jones and that even the American Civil Liberties Union says is a bad idea.

President Trump has complained as well, telling Google last week it had better be careful. He accused the Internet search giant of returning search results “rigged” against conservatives. His economic chieftain, Lawrence Kudlow, said the administration might look toward regulating the globe-straddling information controllers.

“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.” Trump tweeted. “They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!

Trump tweeted about the censorship on August 24 as well, writing that the “Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!”

Photo: Ildo Frazao/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Related stories:

Trump Thumps Google; Kudlow Hints at Regulation

Trump Unloads on Social Media; Censoring Continues

ACLU: Don’t Be So Fast to Ban Jones

Twitter Admits Leaning Left; Denies Censoring Conservatives

Facebook to PragerU: Sorry About That Censorship

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