(AmericanProsperity.com) – Fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories have popped up with greater frequency on Facebook and other social media feeds over the past few months. This uptick has created quite a conundrum as big tech companies walk the fine line between censorship and upholding freedom of speech.
Facebook’s latest ban includes removing groups and advertisements associated with or promoting QAnon and militarized movements, as well as restricting ad purchases leading up to the presidential election in November.
Understanding Facebook’s Latest Ad Ban
On Wednesday, September 30, Facebook shared an update about its latest crackdown. Beginning on September 16, the big tech giant moved user-generated content related to militarized social movements and QAnon further down on users’ news feeds. It was still present, but was much harder to find.
The social media platform banned all ads that “praise, support or represent” the condemned movements on Tuesday, September 29. It’s also continued removing accounts associated with QAnon, including Liz Crokin, seen here:
Liz Crokin, a far-right figure with a major following who has helped spread Pizzagate (appearing in a viral YouTube video pushing it earlier this year) & QAnon (being one of its earliest big boosters), has apparently been banned from Instagram. (h/t @OliviaLittle) pic.twitter.com/lF0xPIZzTo
— Alex Kaplan (@AlKapDC) October 1, 2020
Facebook’s Hashtag Manipulation and Fact-Checking
Facebook is now directing users who search for #savethechildren and similar hashtags to credible child safety resources, instead of posts with the tag. These hashtags are often used to recruit new followers to QAnon.
The social media platform also warned that QAnon and child safety content will be under close scrutiny through its third-party fact-checking program. Content that is deemed misinformation will be given a label to provide users more context for the post and issues at play.
Thousands of Pages and Groups Taken Down
On August 19, the crackdown on anarchist groups, US-based militias, and QAnon began when Facebook pledged to restrict any group who promoted violence. It also limited its recommendations and related hashtags sections so that users had a more difficult time finding like-minded accounts.
Between August 19 and September 15, over 6,500 Facebook pages and groups were removed under the revised guidelines. Brian Fishman, the head of Facebook’s global counterterrorism team, shared some insight to the reasoning for the media censorship on Twitter:
It takes a society collectively confronting hate and violence directly to push it back: creating new offramps for those tempted by it, mitigating the social ills that create disillusionment, investigating and punishing crimes when they occur.
— Brian Fishman (@brianfishman) September 30, 2020
Policies Are Not Always Perfect
Many Facebook users who do not partner with the groups in question have had their accounts frozen or received warnings as the social media giant works out the issues in its policy. A more significant shortcoming with this new plan, however, was called out when Facebook overlooked a call for an armed response during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Facebook dove deep into censorship practices this year in hopes to build a better, safer platform. But, many see these new bans and stipulations as adding fuel to the fire by restricting free speech. This all begs the question — whose responsibility is it to tell Americans what’s true?
~Here’s to Your Prosperity!
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