Michael Barone: Google and Facebook run for censors-in-chief


(From The Washington Examiner)

Let’s turn to Facebook, which according to author James Bovard blocked his post labeled “Janet Reno, Tyrant or Saint?” and including video of the burning of the Branch Davidian compound during an FBI raid in 1993. When he retitled the post, “Janet Reno, American Saint,” and substituted an official portrait of the late attorney general for the Branch Davidian burning, his post was immediately accepted. A Facebook spokesman explained, “There was an image in the post that incorrectly triggered our automation tools. That issue has been corrected.”

But the very fact that one of the most newsworthy videos of the 1990s was suppressed puts an Orwellian cast on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Orwellian assurance that his goal is “to ensure our community is a platform for all ideas and force for good in democracy.” Bovard points out that Facebook complies with censorship laws in other countries and, in its newly proclaimed responsibility to filter out “fake news” is at risk of ongoing viewpoint discrimination in the United States.

I’m not reassured by the news, related by Bovard, that Facebook announced in May it was hiring 3,000 “content reviewers to scrutinize and delete offensive or improper postings or false information.” Where will it find these 3,000 individuals? Presumably from where Silicon Valley hires so many people, off the selective college and university campuses where, in most cases, free speech is systematically suppressed and where many beliefs of mainstream conservatives are widely regarded, and by those in authority, as “hate speech” and “fake news.”

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