Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Social Media Corporations Step up Attacks on Conservatives - Matthew Vadum


by Matthew Vadum

The critical off-year elections are a little over two months away. Coincidence?

The politically-driven censorship of conservatives by the gigantic, unregulated social media corporations controlled by the Left is moving into high gear as the crucial midterm congressional elections of Nov. 6 approach.
It’s no secret that social media platforms have been suppressing and marginalizing ideas they don’t like -- and the ideas they don’t like are overwhelmingly of the conservative and patriotic variety.
But the social media corporations are ramping up censorship of right-leaning groups and individuals to give Democrats an advantage in the upcoming elections.
The stakes are high. If Democrats recapture either chamber of Congress from Republicans, President Trump’s conservative reform agenda will grind to a halt and investigating Trump for all manner of imagined misdeeds will be all Americans hear about 24/7/365. It will be political payback – pure and simple.
The immediate goal is to silence and intimidate conservatives, as well as anyone who supports President Trump.
Since Trump unexpectedly won the presidency in November 2016, these unaccountable oligarchs who run Silicon Valley –chiefly Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google— have manipulated algorithms, trending lists, and search engine results in order to create the false impression that Americans are in revolt against the president and his policies. They also use armies of phony fact-checkers from well-known organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Snopes to give their actions the veneer of respectability. The environment of mass hysteria the Left and their allies in the mainstream media have created has been largely successful in drowning out news of the president’s significant policy achievements.
President Trump called out the social media behemoths in an Aug. 18 tweet.
Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.......
To justify the tidal waves of deception they have unleashed, the bicoastal elite shriek that what turned out to be a trifling quantity of Facebook activity by Russians in the lead-up to the 2016 election somehow cheated Hillary Clinton out of the presidency she saw as her birthright. In their eyes this imagined evil justifies everything they do.
As the indispensable Steven J. Allen has noted at American Greatness:
Mark Penn, chief strategist for Bill Clinton in 1996 and Hillary Clinton in 2008, calculated the value of the Russians’ pro-Trump Facebook campaign. The “actual electioneering,” Penn wrote, “amounts to about $6,500.” That’s less than the MyPillow guy spends on advertising per hour.
Let’s recap the latest outrages committed by social media corporations against conservatives.
Last week Facebook disabled videos produced by PragerU, a nonprofit group founded by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager that has 3 million Facebook followers. Two videos were suppressed as alleged examples of “hate speech.” When PragerU’s Will Witt complained on Facebook, his post was marked as spam.
The videos were titled “Make Men Masculine Again” with Allie Beth Stuckey of the CRTV show “Allie,” and “Where Are the Moderate Muslims?” with researcher Hussein Aboubakr.
Subjected to criticism, Facebook weaseled its way out of accepting responsibility for political censorship, claiming it was an honest mistake that wasn’t motivated by left-wing bias.
“We mistakenly removed these videos and have restored them because they don’t break our standards. This will reverse any reduction in content distribution you’ve experienced,” Facebook said to PragerU. “We’re very sorry and are continuing to look into what happened with your Page.”
Facebook censored as “hate speech” a post of ACT! for America founder Brigitte Gabriel in which she described accused terrorist ringleader Siraj Ibn Wahhaj Jr., who allegedly trained children to perpetrate school shootings, as “sick and depraved.”
“This is the smile of a sick and depraved Muslim terrorist who is back on the streets (on bail) after training children to shoot up schools,” Gabriel posted. “The judge who allowed this to happen should be removed from their post ASAP. If he harms anyone while on bail, the blood is on their hands.”
Although Twitter is one of the most flagrant, shameless practitioners of censorship in the world of social media, it did not take down Gabriel’s post of Aug. 14.
But even so, with its out-of-control viewpoint-based discrimination that is rubber-stamped by its Orwellian-sounding Twitter Trust and Safety Council, it remains a grave threat to the conservative movement.
Project Veritas, the investigative journalism outfit started by ACORN slayer James O’Keefe III, has established conclusively that Twitter shadow-bans its users whose messages the corporation doesn’t like. Shadow-banning limits the reach of users’ posts and can render them more or less invisible to their followers. What is particularly insidious about the practice is that it is done secretly. Users are not notified and have no recourse against Twitter.
In just one of many undercover videos of Twitter staffers, Abhinav Vadrevu, a former software engineer at Twitter, admitted the odious, un-American practices of the company. "But at the end of the day, no one else interacts ... No one else sees what you're doing. So all that data is just thrown away."
Twitter denies in the face of mountains of damning evidence that it shadow-bans conservatives. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering forcing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify about the practice, Politico reported Aug. 16
Twitter and Facebook blocked a campaign ad by Elizabeth Heng, a Republican congressional candidate in California, that featured graphic footage of the Communist genocide in Cambodia. Heng argued the images were an important part of her personal story because her parents just barely avoided death in Cambodia before they fled to the U.S.
"My parents did not have the luxury of blocking the horrific content from the reality of their lives during the rise of communism in Cambodia[,]” Heng tweeted. “Why does @facebook feel they have the right to censor that content in the land of #freespeech?"
Twitter and Facebook eventually reversed the block but only after intense pressure was placed on them as a result of adverse media coverage by Tucker Carlson of Fox News Channel and other high-profile figures.
While staunch Trump supporter Alex Jones and his Infowars website aren’t exactly the gold standard in consistently reliable alternative media, most conservatives aren’t likely to support the social media corporations’ ruthless, apparently coordinated recent suppression of Infowars.
Conservatives understand that first the social media commissars come for Infowars; next they’ll come for Breitbart News, NewsBusters, PJ Media, Hot Air, The Federalist, and other prominent conservative websites.
As The Epoch Times reports:
On Aug. 6, within 12 hours, Apple’s iTunes, Google’s Youtube, and Spotify removed the main pages, channels, and podcasts of InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones. The companies all cited violations of “hate speech” policies as a reason. Pinterest and LinkedIn have since removed Jones’s profiles.
So much for Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil.”
While Jones was being erased from history, the online operations of leftists like Russian government employee Thom Hartmann, the deranged Mike Malloy, and partisan hack conspiracy theorists Joshua Micah Marshall, Jonathan Chait, Rachel Maddow, and Ezra Klein have remained undisturbed.
In the springtime, Facebook’s crackdown on Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers was exposed at a congressional hearing at which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the star witness. Facebook arbitrarily determined the content generated by the two sisters, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who merely appear on camera and talk without advocating violence or law-breaking, was “unsafe to the community.”
Diamond and Silk protested that Facebook allows “appalling” things – “videos of people getting shot, killed, and beat up… they even show pictures of our President decapitated.” Muslim terrorist-sympathizing groups and violent Antifa and related anarchist and communist groups have long operated with impunity on Facebook.
Zuckerberg admitted that he had never heard of ads or pages from Planned Parenthood,, or any Democratic candidate for office being taken down.
But the pressure generated by media coverage of Zuckerberg’s testimony forced Facebook to commit to end its shadow-banning of Diamond and Silk’s page.
Whether Facebook will honor its promise is anyone’s guess.
We already knew that Facebook routinely removes conservative stories from its trending news lists, including stories about the Conservative Political Action Conference (an annual gathering better known by its acronym CPAC), former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the Lois Lerner IRS targeting scandal, and Glenn Beck. Facebook closed down a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” page, blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and killed off and LittleThings.
And with control of the Legislative Branch of the United States government up for grabs in the coming weeks, the social media corporations’ war on conservatives will only intensify.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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