posts sharing articles by prominent conservatives have been
temporarily censored on Facebook under the excuse that they "look
like spam." Both articles dealt with the Paul Manafort conviction
and the Michael Cohen guilty plea, arguing that these events were
not nearly as damning to President Donald Trump as the media
Facebook blocked Salena Zito, CNN contributor and author of the
groundbreaking book "The
Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American
Politics." On Wednesday afternoon, Zito published a New
York Post article
Trump’s supporters won’t care about Cohen and Manafort’s
Thursday morning, she noticed something out of place. "So this is
interesting… [Facebook] took down my post of my reporting for the
[New York Post]
— I’ve received nine separate messages from readers telling me the
same thing has happened to them. ‘sup [Facebook]?" Zito asked in a
Zito shared a picture of the post removed from the social media
platform, with a message: "We removed this post because it looks
like spam and doesn’t follow our Community Standards."
did put the article back up," Salena Zito told PJ Media. "They never
responded to any of my inquiries." The author laid out the ways she
contacted Facebook: "I first put out a polite tweet, then I direct
messaged them, then I sent them a message through the Facebook page,
and then I sent a message through support. No answer."
trying to contact them through several different ways, the story
miraculously reappeared," Zito told the Washington
Times's Larry O'Connor.
also targeted Jenna Lynn Ellis, a contributor
Washington Examiner, director of public policy at the
James Dobson Family Institute and author of "The
Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution: A Guide for Christians to
Understand America's Constitutional Crisis."
published an article in The
Washington Examiner explaining why "Democrats
are overreacting to the Michael Cohen guilty plea." She argued
that plea bargains are a legal fiction, are not confessions, and are
not evidence of crimes or verdicts of guilt. Therefore, the Cohen
plea did not implicate Trump in financial crimes.
shared the article on Facebook, and a friend took a picture of
Facebook removing the post. Again came the same message: "We
removed this post because it looks like spam and doesn’t follow our
reposted the screenshot and tagged Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg and
the tags were immediately removed," Ellis told PJ Media. She argued
that Facebook is trying to eat its cake and have it, too.
has every right to suppress content as a private platform, but they
have to do so openly in their terms and conditions, which should
give every user clear notice of the agreement for use," she told PJ
Media. "If they want to be a liberally biased platform, do so openly
so conservatives can determine if they want to use that platform."
the Facebook team "are misrepresenting their user agreement and
trying to benefit from conservatives adding to their user numbers to
drive up value, but still censor selectively and against users’
reasonable expectations in signing up for the platform."
Beynon, senior digital engagement editor at The
Washington Examiner, gave an update on Ellis's story. "We had
another reader send a message to the Examiner's page with a similar
problem," he reported. "We have not received any violation notices
from Facebook and our original post is still up. However, the image
suggested that the problem may trace back to a bad "bot."
"Unfortunately, most social media sites have bots that sometimes
wrongfully IDs spam/bad content."
also showed PJ Media evidence of further "looks like spam"
censoring. One photo showed a mobile notification with the same
message, "We removed your post because it looks like spam."
of Ellis's Facebook friends reported receiving "the same removal
notice — about a barbershop chorus video I posted last night.!?"
American Thinker's Thomas
Lifson reported that other conservative
articles had been blocked as spam, as well.
did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment by press time.
round of "spam" censorship, whether targeted at conservatives or
not, seems to come at a particularly bad time for Facebook. Last
week, the social media platform shadow-banned the conservative
educational video nonprofit PragerU. At least nine of PragerU's
Facebook posts reached zero of
their 3 million followers, and Facebook actually deleted some
of their videos.
move seemed ironic since PragerU had filed
a lawsuit against Google/YouTube last
October, alleging "intentional" censorship of conservative speakers.
to restrict access to PragerU videos, without censoring
similar videos from other, less mainstream or less conservative,
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing smear factory that
brands conservative and Christian organizations "hate groups" for
disagreeing with their liberal worldview, has encouraged the
censorship of conservatives online. Organizations on their "hate
group" list have found themselves exiled.
this week, GoFundMe effectively
stole more than $2,500 from Jihad Watch
founder Robert Spencer, whom the SPLC labeled an "extremist" and a
"hate group" leader. This came shortly after Patreon
de-platformed Spencer and Jihad Watch.
charity program Amazon Smile dropped
D. James Kennedy Ministries and the Alliance
Defending Freedom (ADF), citing the SPLC "hate group" list. D. James
Kennedy Ministries has sued
Amazon and the SPLC for this
action. Last September, the credit card processing website Vanco
Payments refused to work with the Ruth
Institute, a small Roman Catholic pro-family nonprofit, due to its
presence on the "hate group" list.
media companies relying on the SPLC's "hate group" list may find
themselves in a pickle, however. Approximately 60 different
organizations are considering separate
defamation lawsuits against the SPLC over
the "hate group" list.
conservatives not among the groups targeted by the SPLC have found
themselves targeted by Facebook, however. Christian
scholar Robert Gagnon has been repeatedly
suspended on Facebook, and in April the social media platform suspended
a German history professor for saying that
"Islam is not a part of German history."
the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.