Are Facebook Censors Eroding Freedom of Speech?
Today a House Judiciary Committee received testimony from social media leadership in relation to the investigation into the appearance of purposeful political bias and religious bias within the social media arena. Representatives from YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook appeared at the hearing
Deliberate removal of patriotic, conservative, or Christian postings on Facebook or Twitter based upon some nefarious algorithms demonstrates either a broken set of identifying parameters, or a deliberate effort at censorship. American citizens need to realize that their efforts to exercise their First Amendment rights via social media is at the mercy of those who control those algorithms. With Independence Day having just passed, many Americans may be interested to know that Facebook removed textual content of the Declaration of Independence.
According to Assistant Editor Christian Britschgi, writing for Reason.com on July 3rd of this year, the Facebook algorithm flagged and removed content consisting of much of the Declaration of Independence. It was considered “hate” content. So, if a founder like Thomas Jefferson can be banned from expressing his views on Facebook, America is in a heap of trouble if citizens rely on Facebook for upholding their First Amendment rights. This is not just a resist Donald Trump campaign, as it is not just Donald Trump who is banned on Facebook! Such efforts are used to censor fundamental American values that serve as the foundation of our nation and that regular citizens hold dear.
Many conservative voices are muted – under similar labeling or identification processes, which flag and remove content, or place perpetrators in ‘Facebook jail,” which means their posting rights are revoked for a period of time. Or, Facebook will remove the individual’s or group’s posting privileges or the Facebook page. In the case of the content featuring the Declaration of Independence, a local Texas community newspaper was guilty of violating of Facebook’s policies against hate speech by posting excerpts of one of America’s core founding documents.
Additionally, Editor Judi McLeod writing in Canada Free Press recently wrote about the banning of a pro-America music video of American patriot Lloyd Marcus. Mr. Marcus is an American singer and songwriter, and a conservative writer as well as the leader of many conservative efforts. According to the article Marcus had created a new music video and intended to post it on Facebook on July 3rd. He shared that “Facebook rejected my Pro-America Christian July 4th music video. Marcus told Canada Free Press, “My wife Mary tried to purchase a boost ad on Facebook to promote the July 4th release of my “We Are Americans” music video. The video was rejected for “political content.”
This outright discrimination against pro-American values is happening all too often in the United States, and who is monitoring Facebook with regard to their content police? This may be the reason why Congress is investigating the social media giants on Capitol Hill. Yet, Facebook and Twitter routinely get away with such bias and discrimination on a regular basis. Each of the social media outlets have a history of banning conservative and Christian writers, or eliminating their postings on ideological constructs. Within the past year, Twitter and Facebook have created new policies that helped them to start banning some “controversial right-wing” personalities, like Lloyd Marcus.
The Facebook banning of the online content of Diamond and Silk became a famous incident, especially after the two highly popular conservative women testified before Congress regarding their own experience with Facebook censorship. The two ladies testified under oath before a Congressional panel examining social media about their experience, and to counter a claim by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg that his company had communicated with the two, implying a common understanding between them. When Facebook eventually stated it regretted banning Diamond and Silk, it made It clear that Zuckerberg was lying (of course, he was not required to testify under oath).
Such actions against Lloyd Marcus or any other conservative writers or Christian enthusiasts, or other lesser known “deplorables” will likely persist as long as these social media megaliths can get away with such outright discrimination. The mere fact that such social media monopolies can get away with it is shocking because it is a sign of the erosion of free speech to older Americans that remember what free speech truly meant. However, monopolies of thought content can be broken and is hope that true alternatives to Facebook and Twitter are emerging. Americans should investigate while there is still freedom of choice (not to be confused with “Pro-Choice”).
Several alternatives to such social media monopolies have been attempted, but one that is still in the formation stage is USA.Life. It is currently ramping up but the concept behind the new social media platform is to elevate the social media arena into a next generation of social media outlets. It is the intent of founder Steven Andrew to provide an alternative to Christians and conservatives who suffer censorship on Facebook or Twitter.
According to the content on their current website the messaging seems as though all Christians and conservatives would want to take a hike away from the “Facebook Farm” and get behind such a grassroots effort.
Regardless of whether American citizens see the reality of their freedoms being taken from them, their freedoms are being trampled upon in several different ways – the many examples of social media discrimination are just one area of the erosion of the freedom that the founders were willing to fight for, and even willing to die for. They created a new nation centered upon the vision and values that enshrined freedom for all. In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in North America after a long and difficult journey braving hurricane force storms to cross the Atlantic because they wanted nothing more to do with blatant and even deadly persecution against their desire to worship God in their own way. With their lives they planted the seeds for a free land to grow on this continent.
Today, a question Americans should ask is whether hearings in the hallowed halls of Congress will truly help them to break free from the obvious discrimination of the social media monopolists, or whether they should take action themselves. Is is possible for this generation of Americans to break out of their comfort zones of leisure in the “land of the free” that was handed don to them, land to make a determined move to a new realm of social discourse? The future of freedom of speech may depend more upon the people than upon government. It did in 1776; will enough Americans get it in 2018?