So, for those of you who are paying attention to the case of television star Jussie Smollett, it’s looking more and more likely that the supposed hate attack was a hoax.
But Facebook users who say so just might get shut down.
According to a report from American Conservative writer Rod Dreher, a Facebook user who posted Dreher’s story titled “Jussie Smollett’s Hate Hoax” on Facebook had it taken down because it violated the social media giant’s “community standards.”
The “Hate Hoax” piece began by excerpting the latest reports involving the Smollett case, including one from CNN.
“Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that Chicago Police believe Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault,” the piece read.
“The brothers, who were arrested Wednesday, were released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of ‘new evidence.’ The sources told CNN that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.
“Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were ‘yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.’ He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
“The sources told CNN that there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago.”
Dreher piece then went on to catalogue all of the people who uncritically believed Smollett’s story, including media outlets, politicians and celebrities.
This wasn’t anything particularly new or scandalous. In fact, stories like these have appeared not infrequently over the past few days as it’s become clear Smollett’s case is falling apart.
But apparently, it was too much for some delicate sensibilities at Facebook, as Dreher demonstrated with a Twitter post:
You are not allowed to say on Facebook that Jussie Smollett carried out a hate hoax. pic.twitter.com/jnFx7aQFbS
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) February 17, 2019
The post was apparently made by a friend of Dreher.
“The link below on my wall is to Rod Dreher’s blog post that has been blocked by FB for ‘violating community standards,’ if you can believe it. So, what I did was create a tiny url of it just to see how long it stays up,” the Facebook user wrote, according to Dreher.
“If FB blocks it, I am outta here, and I hope some of you will join me. The type of soft totalitarianism that this company employs in order to silence dissent runs counter to the underlying purpose of communication: to speak and learn the truth. That, of course, means that we may stumble once and (sic) a while, which is what I have done on occasion.
“However, as long as we welcome correction and issue it with charity to others, we all benefit. FB, by short-circuiting that process in the name of protecting a particular ‘narrative,’ harms us all. Growth, whether spiritual or intellectual, sometimes requires that we hear and see things that not only challenge our cherished beliefs, but cause us real emotional pain. To try to purposely avoid such incidents is to advance the cause of ignorant docility. It is at bottom, paradoxically, inhumane.”
Dreher, at least, took his friend’s advice:
I have just deactivated my Facebook account.
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) February 17, 2019
Dreher reported that his friend later told him the post was unblocked.
“If true, that’s good news — but the fact that FB blocked it in the first place is a very troubling sign. I’m not going to reinstate my account. I’m done with Facebook.”
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has blocked innocuous content because it involved an account that did not match its liberal-loving worldview. In a recent case in the news, which happened just last month, came when a user called an alleged cop killer an “unvetted illegal immigrant,” compared with the cop he allegedly killed, who was a “vetted legal immigrant.”
Dreher’s post was positively anodyne compared to that, however. There was literally nothing that seemed to be controversial, unless you consider the statement that Smollett’s story was more likely than not a hoax to be a source of grave controversy.
Incidents like these are why conservatives don’t trust Facebook, and they have every reason not to.
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