Leaked internal Facebook documents, which included conversations among employees of the social media giant, show that staffers last year wanted to censor Breitbart News over its accurate reporting of riots following the death of George Floyd.
Facebook is of course used by millions of Americans — almost all of whom are influenced by what the platform allows them to see through its use of algorithms and censorship.
The ability the company has to influence public opinion and sway elections became apparent last year when Big Tech companies ganged up to de-platform former President Donald Trump. That occurred just months after those companies, Facebook among them, prevented voters from hearing about scandals relating to the family of now-President Joe Biden.
But some Facebook employees last June reportedly wanted to control the narrative over riots which sprang up across America after George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. When Breitbart accurately reported on fires set by arsonists, some Facebook staffers allegedly voted to strip the company of its ability to operate as a free and fair news publisher — which it is.
The Journal obtained leaked conversations about blocking the company from reaching its audience while much of the country was burned and looted from Los Angeles to New York.
The desire to block people from getting accurate news was of course rooted in accusations that Breitbart’s reporting was racist.
“Get Breitbart out of News Tab,” one of the Facebook employees reportedly wrote in a message to others.
That person used headlines from Breitbart’s site, including, “Minneapolis Mayhem: Riots in Masks,” “Massive Looting, Buildings in Flames, Bonfires!” and “BLM Protesters Pummel Police Cars on 101.”
There was nothing racist, hyperbolic or inaccurate about those headlines. Example:
I’m manning Breitbart News’ livewire coverage on the violent protests in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Tune in below. https://t.co/vgImaB1lg6
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) May 29, 2020
But the company’s reporting was problematic for some who worked at Facebook, the Journal reported.
The same person who wanted to yank Breitbart’s ability to be listed as a news publisher allegedly argued those headlines were “emblematic of a concerted effort at Breitbart and similarly hyperpartisan sources (none of which belong in News Tab) to paint Black Americans and Black-led movements in a very negative way.”
According to the report, another employee said that by punishing Breitbart for covering the violent riots, Facebook would be risking repercussions.
“We’re scared of political backlash if we enforce our policies without exemptions,” another person with the company reportedly wrote.
According to the Journal, a senior researcher for the company even noted in one message that if the conservative publisher were to be punished over sharing news which people didn’t trust, other outlets might come under fire.
“I can also tell you that we saw drops in trust in CNN 2 years ago: would we take the same approach for them too?” that person wrote.
None of this reporting is the least bit surprising, especially when considering the censorship of conservatives online throughout the last year. Big Tech has it out for enemies of the Democratic Party and the narratives which are crafted by the establishment media.
Breitbart called looting exactly what it is in the outlet’s coverage of the riots. That countered the establishment media narrative that gatherings where people were harmed or killed — and where property was stolen, damaged or destroyed — were “mostly peaceful.”
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