Facebook Censored Me

Criticize your government and it might censor you too.

Facebook said my post’s image of a violent FBI raid ‘incorrectly triggered our automation tools.’ But it wasn’t the first time an iconic image vanished.

Responding to Russian-funded political advertisements, Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg declared last month that “we will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation.” But Facebook is Public Policy Hooligan... Bovard, James Best Price: null Buy New $6.95 (as of 12:10 EST - Details) effectively sowing disinformation by kowtowing to foreign regimes and censoring atrocities such as ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. In the name of repressing fake news and hate speech, Facebook is probably suppressing far more information than Americans realize.

Lost Rights: The Destr... Bovard, James Best Price: null Buy New $7.99 (as of 11:35 EST - Details) Facebook blocked a post of mine last month for the first time since I joined it nine years ago. I was seeking to repost a blog article I had written on Janet Reno, the controversial former attorney general who died last year. I initially thought that Facebook was having technical glitches (no novelty). But I checked the page and saw the official verdict: “Could not scrape URL because it has been blocked.”

“Pshaw!” I said, or some other one-syllable epithet. I copied the full text of the article into a new blog post. Instead Freedom in Chains: The... Bovard, James Best Price: null Buy New $7.99 (as of 05:45 EST - Details) of using “Janet Reno, Tyrant or Saint?” as the core headline, I titled it: “Janet Reno, American Saint.” Instead of a 1993 photo of the burning Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, I substituted an irreproachable official portrait of Reno. Bingo — Facebook instantly accepted that crosspost. I then added a preface detailing the previous blockage and explaining why I sainted Reno. The ironic headline attracted far more attention and spurred a torrent of reposts by think tanks and other websites.

I contacted Facebook’s press office to learn why the initial post was blocked. Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja checked into the matter and notified me that I would be permitted to post that link. “But why was it blocked?” I replied. She responded: “There was an image in the post that incorrectly triggered our automation tools. That issue has been corrected.”

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