It looks like Birchers are on Big Tech’s wrongthink radar.
The John Birch Society had a post censored and monetization of its videos suspended by Facebook last week for alleged violation of “hate speech” standards after the organization encouraged its social media followers to obtain a copy of The New American (TNA) magazine’s “Immigration Invasion” edition.
Facebook removed the post from public visibility on the grounds that it “goes against our Community standards on hate speech.”
In addition, the Facebook team notified JBS that its ad breaks have been placed on a 30-day restriction.
Ad breaks are advertisements that publishers can choose to activate on videos over 10 minutes in order to make money from their content. With ad and other monetization methods on hold, JBS will lose a revenue stream for a month — and Facebook warned the restriction will be extended to three months if JBS has another Community Standards violation within 90 days.
The JBS post that prompted the crackdown was an announcement of TNA’s July 8 print issue (JBS publishes TNA through its American Opinion Publishing subsidiary).
The issue’s cover story is entitled “Immigrant Invasion,” and provides the hard numbers and a deep analysis of the current border crisis.
Neither the article, the magazine cover, nor the promotional graphic posted to Facebook feature racial slurs or other demeaning language. The picture on TNA’s front cover is a real photograph of migrants climbing over the fence along America’s southern border.
Facebook’s Community Standards say the social network bans “hate speech” because “it creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion and in some cases may promote real-world violence.”
The platform defines “hate speech” as “a direct attack on people based on what [Facebook] call[s] protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability.”
“We also provide some protections for immigration status,” Facebook adds.
Per the terms, an “attack” is “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.”
In an article on Facebook’s newsroom, the company’s vice president for EMEA public policy, Richard Allen, accepted that “there is no universally accepted answer for when something crosses the line.”
“In Germany, for example, laws forbid incitement to hatred; you could find yourself the subject of a police raid if you post such content online,” Allen notes. “In the US, on the other hand, even the most vile kinds of speech are legally protected under the US Constitution.”
Allen describes immigration specifically as an issue that has become the subject of “hate speech.”
“Often a policy debate becomes a debate over hate speech, as two sides adopt inflammatory language. This is often the case with the immigration debate, whether it’s about the Rohingya in South East Asia … or immigration in the US. This presents a unique dilemma: on the one hand, we don’t want to stifle important policy conversations about how countries decide who can and can’t cross their borders. At the same time, we know that the discussion is often hurtful and insulting.”
He goes on to say that Facebook investigated immigration discussion after refugees and migrants were allegedly being threatened.
“[We] decided to develop new guidelines to remove calls for violence against migrants or dehumanizing references to them — such as comparisons to animals, to filth or to trash. But we have left in place the ability for people to express their views on immigration itself. And we are deeply committed to making sure Facebook remains a place for legitimate debate.”
The Facebook VP states that Facebook is “committed to removing hate speech any time we become aware of it” and claims the platform deletes an average of 66,000 posts reported as hate speech per week.
The article also asserts Facebook is experimenting with ways to automatically filter “toxic” language and keep it from public eyes. However, the site still relies heavily on reporting by its users and enforcement by its team of 15,000 content reviewers.
“We then have our teams of reviewers, who have broad language expertise and work 24 hours a day across time zones, to apply our hate speech policies,” Allen writes.
JBS, like many publishers, was affected by changes to Facebook’s ad policies last year that now require users to verify their identities by providing photo identification in order to advertise content.
The social-media giant touted this update as a step toward combatting “fake news,” based on the belief that Russian agents used fake Facebook accounts to spread disinformation that contributed to the election of Donald Trump.
Facebook has also purged from its platform a number of personalities it considers “dangerous,” including right-wing commentators such as Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Paul Joseph Watson, and Paul Nehlen.
Facebook carried out these purges in consultation with left-wing groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the George Soros-funded Media Matters.
Ultimately, the censorship tactics are unsurprising to anyone acquainted with the techniques of totalitarians. Why debate dissenting opinion when it’s so much easier to silence it?
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.