Facebook Whistleblower: GOP Frenzy or Enemy?

Over the past few weeks, media outlets and liberal commentators have taken the revelations of whistleblower Francis Haugen, a former Facebook employee, as evidence that the social media giant, far from censoring conservative voices, is actually benefiting from them.

They have used thousands of internal Facebook documents to disprove Haugen’s testimony before Congress and allegations of conservative opposition bias between the Big Tech platform. Now the argument is that Facebook is not doing that Enough Conservative voices should have been censored after the 2020 presidential election and cracked down on information disseminated on the platform before the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

But new evidence has been found by Hougen, a one-time product manager at Facebook, telling a different story. The Wall Street Journal reported in an internal debate on Facebook this week that shows that politics was often at the center of Facebook’s decision-making and that employees regularly target conservative sites, with more senior employees waving a red flag raised by rank-and-file. “The document seen by the journal, which does not capture all employee messages, did not mention the equivalent debate over leftist publications,” WSJ reported.

The leaked documents also show that tools called “sparing sharing” and “informed engagement” were designed to reduce what Facebook deems misleading, allowing them to continue to be used despite searches that have disproportionately affected conservative news sites.

As controversy over Facebook’s profit model and policies spread, conservatives began reporting bizarre coincidences surrounding account suspensions or deletions and being surrounded by various major social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

In early October, campaigning for Virginia Gov. candidate Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, sent a fundraising email accusing a “shady” organization called American Principles Project of dumping money into political ads against him. A day later, YouTube suspended the APP’s ability to post videos, according to the group’s public affairs director, John Schwepp.

There were no warnings before shutting down the YouTube account, which violates the streaming media platform’s three-strike policy, focusing on fighting technology companies’ censorship practices with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and groups, Spe said during a recent conference call. After a media search, YouTube said the APP, which focuses primarily on public education reform, was suspended for re-sharing videos from the banned account of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was arrested last week by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for insulting Congress. Jan. 6 to disobey investigation subpona. YouTube restored APP’s account but did so with caution.

Across the country, Facebook has abruptly dropped a page for the reopening of the California School, which is run by parents critical of the school coveted lockdown policy and has 18,000 followers. Facebook did not explain its ban, the group’s founder Jonathan Jacresson said. Zacharson soon learned that Facebook had removed a few more pages for school-reopening groups across the country in the days leading up to its closure.

Disturbed by the sudden move, Jacqueline contacted California State Assemblyman Kevin Kylie, as well as several news reporters. After a search by Kylie and the media, Facebook reposted the reopened California school page, citing “human error” for similar groups, and shutdowns.

Zachreson wants a better explanation and ultimately more accountability for Facebook and other technology giants. His group and another group opposing the School Mask and Vaccine Mandate in California closed the same week. The timing coincided with the development of their joint legal lawsuit against the state of California over the student mask mandate.

“Usually, if your Facebook group goes down, you’ll get an alert as an administrator and see what you can see and do.” [the complaint] That and the appeal, ”Jacqueson told RealClearPolitics. “For me, they didn’t provide it.”

Earlier this month, Republican Senate candidate and retired Army Capt. Sam Brown vowed retaliation against Twitter when his account was “permanently suspended” without explanation. Twitter has since admitted it was an error. Brown is running in the GOP primary in Nevada, hoping to challenge Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto next year.

Dan Gainer, vice president of a conservative group called Free Speech America, said the Big Tech platform’s claims are like the wrong exclusion of conservative accounts, happening regularly without results so they continue to do so.

“It’s a classic Pichai response: ‘Oh, we had a technical problem. We accidentally dropped it. [hundreds of conservative] Accounts, ” he said during a recent zoom strategy session with the Conservative group and Sen. Johnson. Gainer was referring to Google’s chief executive.

Free Speech America, a branch of the Conservative Media Research Center, tracks the suspension or deletion of conservative accounts of technology companies on social media and cites more than 2,800 examples. A recent report by the group found that Big Tech companies targeted GOP members of Congress in a ratio of 53 to 1 compared to their Democratic counterparts.

Over the years, Republicans from former President Trump have complained about Silicon Valley’s liberal bias and Big Tech’s dangerous monopoly control over information. While the consensus is well-established, the right is deeply broken about exactly what should be done about it, and Hausen’s whistleblow is exacerbating those cracks.

Some, including Trump – who were de-platformed from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram earlier this year – believe that the only real answer to the fight against Silicon Valley’s liberal bias is to provide alternative social media spaces. Trump announced last week that he was launching his own social media network called “Truth Social” to “stand up against the tyranny of Big Tech”.

Others have applauded Haugen’s whistleblowing, which has helped uncover evidence that Facebook has repeatedly manipulated user data for its own benefit and is deliberately harming teenagers. They hope that his testimony and documents will start a plan to control Facebook and other platforms or at least break their monopoly power.

“It’s clear that Facebook prioritizes the well-being of children and all users,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, commented on Haugen’s testimony before a Senate subcommittee in early October. Blackburn said he and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who presided over the panel, were working on legal ideas to resolve the issues.

But others on the right are deeply skeptical of Haugen’s ultimate goal, casting him as the Trojan Horse for further censorship.

“I think we got this whistleblower from Facebook – it’s all a ploy, and [Democrats] Trying to tempt Republicans to join legislation that would complete censorship of conservative thinking on social media, ”Johnson said during the Zoom meeting. “I don’t see Democrats participating in legislation that will actually solve the problem. We have to rely on the private sector to do that. ”

Right-wing radio show host and podcaster Dan Bongino recently urged conservatives not to fall into Hougen’s “trap”, which he described as a “scam” and a “left-wing option.” Conservative commentator and editor Ben Shapiro also warned against bipartisan action arising from Haugen’s testimony. Shapiro’s Daily Wire has underscored his message by reporting on Haugen’s numerous political contributions to Democrats in recent years.

Still, some Republicans remain optimistic that Haugen’s revelation will finally unveil the opaque Facebook policy, which they say is giving Washington more momentum to pull the reins of Big Tech – but only if the Democrats return for the arrangement.

Florida GOP Rep. Greg Steve enacted legislation to curb online censorship The same week Twitter permanently banned Trump. The Stubb law will reform Section 230 – a controversial section of the Communications Decentralization Act that provides liability protection to media companies – by establishing a market dominance test. The bill would set new limits on the liability of media companies that would only apply to the largest companies, not startups trying to compete with them.

As Democrats control the House and Senate, Florida lawmakers have acknowledged that the law is not going anywhere. He said Republicans need to gain control of the House and Senate next November so they can expect a repeal of Article 230.

Still other conservatives argue that Big Tech critics should not give up hope of passing legislation in the near term. Hussein’s testimony, regardless of Whistleblower’s intent, is encouraging Democrats to scrutinize Facebook and other platforms more closely and support new rules aimed at reining in them.

Mike Davis, founder and president of the Conservative Internet Accountability Project, told RCP, “I will separate the whistleblower from the evidence. “Documents speak for themselves. Facebook is clearly exploiting the larger phobia of teenage girls for profit. “

Davis, a former top Senate Judiciary Committee assistant when Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman, has backed a no-confidence motion aimed at undermining Big Tech’s marketplace capabilities. The law would prevent large platforms from dominating one market over another, as Google does when it puts its in-house restaurant reviews on top of Yelp in its search results. Amazon also uses third party transactions on its site to market its products to customers.

Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobutcher are sponsoring the Senate bill as a companion law to the House Judiciary Measure. Since the law was announced in early October, the measure has won the support of a diverse bipartisan group of a dozen senators, including Democrats Dick Durbin, Corey Booker and Richard Blumenthal, as well as Republicans Lindsay Graham, John Kennedy and Josh Howley. Several mid-sized technology companies, including Spotify, Roku, Match Group and DuckDuckGo, have publicly endorsed it.

“There is a unique alliance between progressives and conservatives. Progressives don’t like Big Tech because they’re big, and Conservatives don’t like Big Tech because they censor Conservatives, ”said Davis, who has been suspended from Twitter four times since founding the Internet Accountability Project. “The North is not for Congress [to pass] More control; It’s to break these big tech monopolies governed by centuries-old antitrust laws. “

“There’s a very good chance that there could be two or three, even four of them [antitrust bills] It will become law by next year, ”he predicted.

Susan Crabtree White House / National Political Correspondent on RealClear Politics.

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