On Thursday, New York Post columnist Salena Zito said that Facebook, the social media giant once dubbed the “world’s most dangerous censor,” removed an article she published, allegedly calling it “spam.” The article magically reappeared after some time, she said, but Facebook never explained what happened.
The article, she said, was about “how people who voted for President Trump were feeling after both former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his lawyer Michael Cohen found themselves on the wrong side of the law.”
A couple hours after posting the article on Facebook, Zito said, she began hearing from friends that the post had been removed from her personal timeline.
According to Zito:
Sometimes the removal was accompanied by a message from Facebook. “Spam” was the most common reason given, but a couple of people were told Facebook removed the post because “it did not follow our Community Standards.”
Immediately I went to my original post, which led to the link with this graph: “Right now the value of Trump to the Trump voter is he is all that stands between them and handing the keys to Washington back over to the people inside Washington. That’s it. He’s their only option. You’ve got to pick the insiders or him.”
The post was gone.
Facebook, she said, gave her no reason and worse yet, asking for an explanation “wasn’t easy.”
She tried reaching out to Facebook on Twitter, but received no response.
“…I turned to their own page and asked through a series of confusing messaging options that appear to require a Ph.D. to access let alone find, still no answer,” she said.
Less than two hours later, the article reappeared. Still with no explanation.
Facebook offers no transparency for its methods or decisions.
The article was based on my conversations with Trump voters. It had no expletives, conspiracy theories, hate speech or sexual language. What sort of algorithm would find it, much less censor it?
Perhaps someone doesn’t like my stories and complained about it. But then, who is that person and why does Facebook give them that sort of power?
A very good question. But then again, why does Facebook do half of what it does? Why does Facebook disable accounts of real people who have done nothing wrong whatsoever and refuse to restore them?
As a result of Facebook’s actions, one South Carolina legislator decided to introduce a measure targeting social media censorship.
“Facebook has become the world’s biggest publisher, reaching many more people than daily newspapers. Bad enough that they arbitrarily decide what people can and cannot read. Worse is that they won’t tell anyone why,” Zito said in conclusion.
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