Censorship on the world wide web is not new. Censorship on Facebook is not new either. Plenty of users have reported having their posts taken off their timelines.
What is new is the public attitude from the social media company to take matters into its own hands when it comes to deciding what is news and what is not, who can publish and who can’t.
Although Facebook was born as a tool for users to freely share information, photos and audio, among other things, its success and the opportunity it has provided for people to spread all kinds of content have become a problem for the Establishment, that until very recently exercised almost complete control over who published what, when and where, as well as who read, listened to and watched such information.
Facebook and other social networks such as Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn went from being traditional networking platforms to becoming filterless sources of information for millions if not bllions of people around the world.
One can argue that social media became the most important pillar of internet freedom, until that freedom became a threat to the controllers, whose plan was to use social media as tools of control.
The Establishment and the media they controlled launched a direct attack on internet freedom by creating fake news and assigning the blame for those fake news on alternative media, which heavily depends on social media to spread its information.
Now, after labeling alternative media reports as “fake news” social media giants have begun to wage war on alternative media by censoring their content and starting a new campaign to actively and openly censoring news that challenge mainstream media and the status quo.
Twitter has allegedly threatened with closing the accounts of people for reporting on “controversial” topics. Youtube, a creature of Google, is now known for taking down videos that allegedly violate their terms. The same has been done by Google +.
These large social media giants have gone from using algoritms and other formulae to prevent certain content from being published to creating cadres of censors to almost fully automatizing the censorship they intend to impose.
On Thursday, Facebook finally specified how it will be and operate the tool to detect so called fake news. The announcement was made by company founder Mark Zuckerberg in his profile of the social network:[quote style=”1″]Today we’re making it easier to report hoaxes, and if many people report a story, then we’ll send it to third-party fact checking organizations. If the fact checkers agree a story is a hoax, you’ll see a flag on the story saying it has been disputed, and that story may be less likely to show up in News Feed.
You’ll still be able to read and share the story, but you’ll now have more information about whether fact checkers believe it’s accurate. No one will be able to make a disputed story into an ad or promote it on our platform. We’ve also found that if people who read an article are significantly less likely to share it than people who just read the headline, that may be a sign it’s misleading. We’re going to start incorporating this signal into News Feed ranking.
These steps will help make spreading misinformation less profitable for spammers who make money by getting more people to visit their sites. And we’re also going to crack down on spammers who masquerade as well-known news organizations.[/quote]
With this measure, which is part of the seven-point plan announced at the end of November, Facebook hands over the role of referee to a cadre of perpetually ofended people and for now it appears to leave open the possibility of reading and sharing the story. But with conditions.
“We are going to repress these spammers who disguise themselves as famous news organizations,” Zuckerberg said.
This decision comes after the role that social networks have played in US elections.
It has been one of the electoral campaigns in which more lies have been circulated in recent history, mainly by mainstream media, which will undoubtedly continue to have complete liberty to publish their lies and disinformation on all social networks and news platforms, while alternative media will be censored because their reports contradict the official story.
Donald Trump, winner on Nov. 8, was the candidate who was attacked the most by mainstream media during the 2016 campaign.
Trump, as many other people who have no alternative ways to fight disinformation, made use of social media to fight fake news published by CNN, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other Establishment-run publications.
Facebook’s move to actively censor news that are not part of the echo chamber and that do not regurgitate the official story is a new attempt by the Establishment to stop the bleeding faced by the mainstream media, whose credibility has reached single digits.
Traditional media have lost control and no longer dominate the narrative, so social media giants seek to impose a gag on dissenting reports that challenge the official story.
“I see Facebook as a technology company, but I recognize that we have more responsibility than just building the technology where information flows,” said Zuckerberg. “Although we do not write the news that you read and share, we recognize that we are more than just a news distributor,” said the founder of the social network.
Along with Facebook, Google announced a month ago that it would prevent sites that spread false news from using its online advertising service known as AdSense.
“From now on, we will restrict the publication of ads on pages whose primary purpose is to misrepresent or spread false information,” the company said in a statement.
AdSense, Google’s primary source of income, uses a combination of human and computer tools to decide what content must be labeled as malicious, illegal, or hoaxes.