Facebook’s 7-Point Censorship Plan Unveiled Under the Guise of Limiting “Fake”
-by Carolanne Wright
Contributing writer for
Wake Up World
As you may have heard, Google, along with social media sites Facebook and Twitter,
recently faced a backlash over the alleged role they played in the U.S. presidential election, where many claim the spread of fake news influenced voters to support Republican candidate Donald Trump.
While Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has vehemently insisted the site played no role in swaying the vote, the popular social media platform has since announced a strategy to limit
Although this new direction may seem worthwhile at first glance, upon further
inspection, we soon realize that Facebook’s 7-point plan is yet another bid at censorship, especially where alternative media is concerned.
The Choice Between Free Speech and Censorship
Zuckerberg himself admits, “Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of
what people see is authentic. Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes.” And adds, “The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it
extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.”
However, within a few days, he apparently had a change of heart. On November 18, 2016,
Zuckerbergposted the following 7-point plan to reduce fake news on the platform:
“While the percentage of misinformation is relatively small, we have much more work ahead on our roadmap. Normally we wouldn’t share specifics about our work
in progress, but given the importance of these issues and the amount of interest in this topic, I want to outline some of the projects we already have underway:
most important thing we can do is improve our abilityto classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it
· Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us
catch more misinformation faster.
· Third party
verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many
· Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by
third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.
· Related articles
quality. We are
raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.
· Disrupting fake news
economics. A lot
of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm
· Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry
to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.”
Even though Facebook’s plan may appear on the surface to be a sound
measure, The Free Thought Project has
this to say:
“In other words, apart from spam detection, which other websites and platforms have
effectively combatted for years, Facebook’s plan to ‘detect’ misinformation will be based on what any idiot says. Although the people of this planet generally operate from a place of honesty and
integrity, let’s face it, humans have nasty penchants for retribution, revenge, sanctimonious arrogance, self-righteousness, misjudgment, mischaracterization, hyperbole, and — most imperatively —
“Relying on people’s personal assessments of possibly-false news items as the primary
driver of what deserves to be branded with a Scarlet Letter “F” is a system destined to fail everyone before it even begins.”
Many feel that Facebook is already biased where alternative media is concerned, and
now, with this new plan, it will become even more slanted.
“Mark, will you also fight government sponsored propaganda of the United States?” asked
user Jiri Klouda. “What about articles where unnamed government officials intentionally share false information with journalists, often with grave consequences. Like for example in the lead up to the
Iraq war, or many other wars. We’d like to know that if you are going to fight against disinformation that it will be applied evenly and not just in one sided way as the mass market US media
companies do.” [source]
This is one of the greatest threats to the free press:
“Facebook, backed by a polarized public, will be the arbiter of acceptable thought —
and those who dare question or criticize that thought will pay with their livelihoods. Far worse, everyone will pay the price of lost access to information. We’re already starting to.” [source]
Such a threat is especially true when we consider censorship of alternative media
is currently alive and well on Facebook to begin with.