Where is the line between having reasonable community standards, and blatantly censoring any unapproved opinions? Social media platforms are struggling to answer that question, but it seems that Facebook has decided on censorship.
That’s the unfortunate and sobering conclusion, at least if a report from right-leaning outlet Lone Conservative is accurate.
On Wednesday, the student-focused group tried to share a post from Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh, but was apparently slapped down by the giant social network.
“We apparently can’t share @MattWalshBlog’s tweets on Facebook because they’re hate speech,” Lone Conservative posted on Twitter.
— Lone Conservative (@LoConservative) May 15, 2019
They included a message that they said came from Facebook as evidence.
“Your post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech,” the notice said. “No one else can see your post.”
So what was the “hate speech” that Facebook apparently deemed too hurtful to appear online?
A piece of fairly moderate commentary from Matt Walsh that pointed out the numerous hypocrisies within liberal narratives. Que horror!
“Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but no uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women’s rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil,” he posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
Gender is a social construct but I am woman hear me roar but anyone can be a woman but no uterus no opinion but transwomen are women but I demand women’s rights but men are women but men are scum but drag queens are beautiful but appropriation is evil
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 14, 2019
It was clear to anybody with brain cells that Walsh was poking fun at — and making a solid point about — the logical pretzels that many on the left are twisting themselves into. And it resonated: Nearly 40,000 people have so far “liked” the tweet, which Lone Conservative posted as a screenshot on their own Facebook page.
Well this is dumb. https://t.co/PUkEQXzBZN
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) May 15, 2019
Cue the “hate speech” label. It seems someone at Facebook believes that a post even mildly poking holes in liberal arguments must be blocked and hidden from view.
It’s worth noting that Walsh’s tweet didn’t even call out anybody specifically. He didn’t mention a single person in the post, or even use the word “liberal.” There wasn’t a single swear word. All he did was string together narratives popular on the left right now, to demonstrate their incongruity.
Now, in the sake of fairness, we should point out that there’s a good chance the post from Lone Conservative which shared Walsh’s tweet was flagged automatically by Facebook. We don’t know that an employee purposely blocked it.
But that is part of the problem. Somebody programmed the bots which assist Facebook with flagging and blocking posts, and that intentional programming seems to be taking down conservative viewpoints with alarming frequency.
It would be one thing if this were an isolated incident. But it does seem to be part of a pattern.
Liberal-run companies on the west coast — we’re looking at you, Twitter and Facebook — are letting their own political biases influence content policies. Basically, they’re echo chambers.
So what’s the solution? Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic answer.
Figuring out how to run a community that is open yet has guidelines can be tough, whether you’re running a small blog, a popular conservative news outlet, or a major social network. But recognizing that people have diverse views, and erring on the side of free speech whenever possible, would certainly be a start.
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