Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Nation of Vice Principals: Facebook systematically suppresses conservative views...

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A Nation of Vice Principals

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Writing in Gizmodo, Michael Nunez reports the least newsy of Muppet News Flashes:

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Facebook systematically suppresses conservative views. Meaning no slight to Nunez’s excellent reporting, this story is about as surprising as Katt Williams getting arrested or Donald Trump telling an obvious lie. The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven, the Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit, and social-media companies try to bury conservatives. It’s a day of the week ending in “y,” isn’t it?Nunez interviews a former “curator” of the Facebook trending-news section. Facebook presents the trending-news feature as though it were simply a neutral report on what people are discussing on the site at any given moment. In fact, the feature is tightly controlled by an editorial team. Facebook has been getting the stuffing knocked out of it by Twitter when it comes to delivering breaking news, and so Facebook pays people to watch Twitter and “curate” its own trending-news feature to make sure it seems to be keeping up. As Nunez reports, that’s not all Facebook does. It suppresses news about Facebook, for instance. 

It works to elevate coverage of issues politically important to Facebook’s largely left-leaning staff, such as the Black Lives Matter protests. When there’s energetic discussion of a hot story originating on a conservative site, Facebook’s curators look for a link to a non-conservative outlet, such as the New York Times, rather than directing Facebook users toward (angels and ministers of grace defend us!) a conservative publication.Where the Left has power, it will use that power to try to crush dissent, debate, and criticism.

And it tries to smother conservative discussions entirely. As the Facebook insider tells Nunez, the curators deep-sixed discussions about Rand Paul, CPAC, and Scott Walker. Entertainingly, Facebook attempted to suppress discussion of Lois Lerner, the IRS executive who abused her powers to try to suppress conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 elections. That’s a nice tag-team: The Obama administration tries to silence conservatives, and Facebook tries to silence conservatives’ complaints about being silenced. Well done, ladies and gentlemen. This is hardly without precedent. 

Twitter famously revoked the coveted blue check marks denoting “verified” accounts belonging to a number of conservative commentators and suspended the accounts of others. Federal workers have written to me complaining that their office firewalls will allow them to access pornography sites but block National Review. (The consumption of internet porn seems to be the main federal occupation.) This is all painfully normal.

If a Conservative Speaks—and Facebook Censors Him—Does He Make a Sound?

Where the Left has power, it will use that power to try to crush dissent, debate, and criticism. It isn’t conservative student groups chasing nonconformist speakers off of college campuses or demanding indoctrination sessions. But it isn’t just the campus P.C. police, either. No, it’s the real police, too.

For those of you who aren’t keeping score at home: In Texas, Democratic politicians have in three high-profile cases attempted to lock up Republicans for engaging in ordinary political activism. The most recent case was the indictment of Rick Perry, then the state’s governor, on two felony charges for having vetoed a spending bill, i.e. for having performed an ordinary gubernatorial function.

Democratic and progressive activists have for some years been calling for the arrest and imprisonment of people holding nonconforming views on global warming (see “Arrest climate-change deniers” and the subsequent pronouncements of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) and in response there is a multi-jurisdictional effort involving California, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among others, to prosecute Exxon and activist groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute for communicating unpopular views on the subject of climate change.




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