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How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech

In the Summer of 2007 I traveled to China to speak at a conference concerning security preparations for the Olympic Games, which were to be held in Beijing the following year. While transiting Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport I noticed something odd. The internet sites that I checked every day would not open, to include The American Conservative [1] and Antiwar.com [2]. When I finally reached China, the same sites continued to be inaccessible and I also noted that writing emails had become problematic either at the airports in Hong Kong or Beijing or at the Sheraton Hotel in Shenyang. Some words would not type at all while other words that were clearly considered to be offensive would be altered without any input from me. Words like “damn” and “hell” appeared as “d**n” and “h**l” and the same alterations took place with more obviously scatological and reproductive expressions.

When I returned to the United States, I learned that there was commercially available software that enabled internet service providers to selectively censor online content. That was apparently what was being used by the French in the airport and more so in China. Since 2007, I have learned that many governments and their agencies employ such software to limit access to what they hold to be objectionable content and to control certain aspects of messaging going out of the country.

The internet was originally promoted as a completely free and uncensored mechanism for people everywhere to exchange views and communicate, but that is not really true anymore. Both governments and the service providers have developed a taste for controlling the product, with President Barack Obama once considering a “kill switch [3]” that would turn the internet off completely in the event of a “national emergency.” President Trump has also had a lot to say about fake news and is reported to be supporting limiting protections relating to [4] the internet.

Social networking sites have voluntarily employed technical fixes [5] that restrict some content and have also hired “reviewers” who look for objectionable material and remove it. European legislation, meanwhile, might require [6] internet search engines to eliminate access to many old posts. YouTube has already been engaged in deleting existing old material, and is working with [7] by no means impartial “partners” like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to set up guidelines to restrict future content. Users of Facebook will have already undoubtedly noted that some contacts have been blocked temporarily (or even permanently) and denied access to the site.

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Google now automatically disables or limits searches for material that it deems to be undesirable. If Google does not approve of something it will not appear in search results. And what does come up will likely favor content [8] that derives from those who pay Google to promote their products or services. Information that originates with competitors will either be very low in the search results or even blocked. Google is hardly an unbiased source [9] of information.

My most recent encounter with social media censorship occurred on Facebook, which announced in May [10] that it would be hiring 3,000 new censors. I had posted an article that I had written for Unz.com entitled “Charlottesville Requiem [11].” At the end of the first day, Ron Unz noticed that while the article had clearly attracted a substantial readership, the “likes” for the piece were not showing up on the screen counter, i.e. were not being tabulated. It was also impossible to share the piece on Facebook as the button to do so had been removed.

The “likes” on sites like Facebook, Yahoo news comments, YouTube, and Google are important because they automatically determine [12] how the piece is distributed throughout the site. If there are a lot of likes the piece goes to the top when a search is made or when someone opens the page. Articles similarly can be sent to Coventry if they receive a lot of dislikes or negative marks, so the approvals or disapprovals can be very important in determining what kind of audience is reached or what a search will reveal.

In my case, after one day my page reverted to normal, the “likes” reappeared, and readers were again able to share the article. But it was clear that someone had been managing what I had posted, apparently because there had been disapproval of my content based on what must have been a political judgment. A couple of days later, I learned of another example of a similar incident. The Ron Paul Institute (RPI) website posts much of its material on YouTube (owned by Google) on a site where there had been advertising that kicked back to RPI a small percentage of the money earned. Suddenly, without explanation, both the ads and rebate were eliminated [13] after a “manual review” determined the content to be “unsuitable for all advertisers.” This was a judgment rendered apparently due to disapproval of what the Institute does and says. The ability to comment on and link from the pieces was also turned off.

change_me

So unelected, unnamed censors are operating all around the internet to control the content, which I suppose should surprise no one. Which, curiously enough, leads again to “Russiagate”. Given the attempts to manage content and comments on the internet, many of those who attempt to exploit the anonymity of the medium have resorted to various ploys to get around those restraints. Among my Facebook friends I have five contacts whom I know in true name but who operate on the site in alias. In several cases it is done to protect their ability to express out-of-the-mainstream views and also keep those views at some distance from their employers, who might object or even fire them.

Earlier this month, the New York Times had a featured front page investigative piece [14] entitled in its print edition “To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans – Flooding Twitter and Facebook, Impostors Helped Fuel Anger in Polarized U.S.” As the title suggests, the newspaper expressed its dismay over how many supporters of Russia online appear to be alias personae, again suggesting that Moscow is an “unprecedented foreign intervention in American democracy.” The “legion of Russian-controlled imposters” were blamed for propagating an “anti-Clinton message,” and, to do so, they had unleashed a “cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

The Times concluded that the alleged Russian activity had turned social media “into engines of deception and propaganda.” In one sense, it was astonishing that the Times had taken so long to cotton onto something that has been taking place for years, mostly engineered by the United States. The Pentagon and State Department have long had personnel roving the internet using fake names, engaged in what is referred to as “perception management.” They infiltrate radical sites and even engage in debate through the comments sections. It is to be presumed that the CIA is similarly active. There have been credible claims that Washington interfered heavily via internet and other mechanisms in voting in Ukraine as well as in recent Venezuelan elections. [15]

Israel’s government has also more-or-less admitted [16] being engaged in perception management on a large scale. The Israeli Foreign Ministry even sent a letter out to a number of pro-Israel organizations emphasizing the “importance of the internet as the new battleground for Israel’s image.” Haaretz reported [17] in 2013 how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office collaborated with the National Union of Israeli Students to establish “covert units” at the seven national universities to be structured in a “semi-military” fashion and organized in situation rooms. Students are paid [18] as much as $2,000 monthly to use aliases to work the online targets.

The Times article described how the fake accounts could be activated serially by command to bombard social media with similar messages intended to confuse the electorate and “fuel a fire of anger and suspicion in a polarized country.” Some fake Facebook account holders allegedly also bought political advertising totaling $100,000 that appeared on the site. But the Times is, not surprisingly, heavily editorializing in an investigative piece and is also both framing and inflating an apparent problem to suit its own biases. It produces nothing that would equate to actual evidence that Russia was involved in the wholesale deception and does not seriously examine what other interested foreign and domestic parties might also have been willing to engage in subterfuge to cook the social media content.

Anything that appeared in the Times survey that was either anti-American or anti-Clinton was attributed by the Times to the Russian intelligence services, while the word “suspected” appears frequently in the article. And the fake personae might have amounted to little in terms of the overall content on sites like Facebook, which concedes that there was some fraud, but that faux accounts involved in potential “civic content” deception amounted to less than one tenth of one percent of all traffic volume.

The Times’ assertions regarding the social media invasion by Moscow are reminiscent of Obama Administration claims about Russian hacking in that they are largely evidence free. One anti-Clinton site called DCLeaks is connected by the Times to the Russian military-intelligence service the GRU without any proof whatsoever to confirm that linkage. And there is, of course, nothing to suggest that the alleged Russian meddling in any way convinced the American public of anything, or changed any votes. Even if it existed on the scale that the Times is maintaining, it was demonstrably unsuccessful. It did not determine the outcome of the election.

Anyone who is paying attention would be unlikely to deny that there is an astonishing amount of fraud, disinformation, and covert manipulation floating around the internet at any given time. That is a by-product of its relative freedom and accessibility. But most people are not completely gullible and manage to filter out the frivolous and implausible. Far more dangerous than speculation about what the Russians might have done (or what the U.S. government is doing) is the self-censorship being engaged in by the actual service providers and related media sites representing large and wealthy American corporations, some of which have near monopolistic power. They are well placed to shape what the public knows and what it is able to discover. Erasing old content and restricting searches is not so much different than George Orwell’s Winston Smith watching the evidence for no longer politically-acceptable events being dropped down the memory hole. If the censorship and limitation of the product is allowed to continue, the information revolution promised by the internet might well turn out to be a bad bargain.


Philip Giraldi [1], a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

48 Comments (Open | Close)

48 Comments To "How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech"

#1 Comment By Jim Bovard On September 14, 2017 @ 11:47 pm

Great piece – and very timely.

#2 Comment By Richard Soles On September 15, 2017 @ 2:52 am

“Words like “damn” and “hell” appeared as “d**n” and “h**l”

It would have been sneakier if they had allowed you to believe that you sent the word “damn”, but the recipient saw only “d**n”.

Which implies that they wanted you to know that you were being monitored and censored.

#3 Comment By ked_x On September 15, 2017 @ 3:02 am

Well if preserving the Internet is what you care about, then you should back projects like those at [19] .

#4 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 15, 2017 @ 5:49 am

“If the censorship and limitation of the product is allowed to continue, the information revolution promised by the internet might well turn out to be a bad bargain.”

I consistently comment in very few sites. Less than three, I think. On occasion if I see an article elsewhere that provokes thought, I may respond. My experience with disqus suggests a lot of politically motivated censorship.

And given the view of Mr Zuckerberg and his board and management team, I have no doubt that politics is a motivator in censoring material.

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 15, 2017 @ 6:08 am

Phil, I was subjected to an anonymous campaign that was a smear site falsely attributed to me that ran unknown to me for a year, causing severe financial and reputational harm, that I only found out about after my adult children were negatively impacted.

The WordPress anonymous employee who responded to my complaints of impersonation, refused to take any action because he felt that due to my real opinions, I fully deserved to be doxxed. He told me they were making sure that no avenue for redress would be accepted. Welcome to Silicon Valley’s progressive corporate Thought Police.

Eventually the site was taken down when I applied pressure against the church members I suspected were involved, who were engaged in overthrowing the church’s official teaching and which I had resisted. Antifa comes to a congregation near you. However the results are not really happy as the ensuing exposure is splitting the church membership.

#6 Comment By James Hartwick On September 15, 2017 @ 8:30 am

Are there other online options? I’ve noticed that some of the websites Google dropped in the wake of Charlottesville still show up on DuckDuckGo, for instance.

#7 Comment By polistra On September 15, 2017 @ 11:07 am

@ked_x: Don’t count on archive.org. They’ve made their love and obedience of Deepstate perfectly clear by moving servers to Canada to protest the fake image of “nationalist” “Trump”. So far I haven’t seen any memoryholing at Archive, but that probably means I’m not looking in the right places yet.

#8 Comment By B. Minich On September 15, 2017 @ 11:46 am

The YouTube thing doesn’t appear to be ideological, or at least purely so. The so called “adpocalypse” has been hitting channels of all kinds with the unsuitable for advertisers notice for videos, including things like video game reviews, World War I histories, pop culture discussions, and so forth. In this particular case, Google seems to be dealing with fallout from their advertisers, who have become gunshy as a result of several incidents, which are being pushed into a frenzy by more traditional media which has incentives to make things harder for their biggest media competitor. It is still censorship at it’s finest, and bad bad bad, but I think in that case, there’s something more than simple ideology going on. It’s affecting everyone, left, right, center, and other.

#9 Comment By Olga On September 15, 2017 @ 12:15 pm

Dreamwidth doesn’t accept credit card payments because if they did, they would have to monitor blogs and some blogs are personal journals that may contain sexual content. So many sites that contain sexual content (not porn) just journal entries either about a lover, a fantasy or recalling abuse, can get you censored. While I agree the human trafficking is bad, a discussion about breast cancer shouldn’t get a site shut down for “inappropriate” content and somehow the rules are not interrupting actual porn distribution.

So I think most censorship is more about money and less about politics. However, there might be more of a concerted effort to prevent gatherings like what occurred in Charlottesville.

#10 Comment By Michael Kenny On September 15, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

“Anyone who is paying attention would be unlikely to deny that there is an astonishing amount of fraud, disinformation, and covert manipulation floating around the internet at any given time… most people are not completely gullible and manage to filter out the frivolous and implausible”. That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the headline on this article. Facebook “dared” to delete fake Russian accounts, so Mr Giraldi counterattacks with an accusation of “censorship”.

#11 Comment By Russ B On September 15, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

I seriously doubt that anyone was monitoring your Facebook post Mr. Giraldi and removing and then returning the Share button.

A far more likely explanation (as opposed to your own active imagination) is that what you experienced was simply an operator error (you didn’t understand your own Facebook settings options and their effect), a software bug in a recent Facebook feature update (they happen all the time) or a database corruption (they also happen all the time) which was automatically cleaned up by regularly scheduled maintenance.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 15, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

“I seriously doubt that anyone was monitoring your Facebook post Mr. Giraldi and removing and then returning the Share button.”

This would carry weight if not for their messy reputation already garnered by Facebook regarding political and social content. Given the advocacy of Mr Giraldi regarding policy and his former (not that anyone really retires from the CIA) career, I don’t have any issues that he was monitored. What you say is possible, however, the last twenty years have made it clear that internet agendas by various organizations and or individuals private otherwise will spare no effort against anyone interfering in their agenda(s).

The tales thus far related by other commenters and there are plenty more should they be expressed are real. And no level of suggested paranoia is enough to dismantle that reality.

#13 Comment By Phil Giraldi On September 15, 2017 @ 2:13 pm

Wrong Russ B – Unz’s staff checked out all the technical possibilities that might be causing the glitch and none of them were creating the problem. Why is it difficult for you to imagine that we are being censored to limit certain viewpoints? Is it your own “active imagination” about a benign Facebook at play?

#14 Comment By Moi On September 15, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

The pertinent question that PG does not ask: Who controls/owns the MSM?

#15 Comment By Nicolas On September 15, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

It’s important to realize that using Facebook as a log-in tool for other sites also exposes your comments to scrutiny. It’s best to create individual site accounts rather than to use FB, Twitter, or Google accounts for external log-in.

I’m fairly standard-issue libertarian. My Facebook account was abolished a year ago, and the company refused to respond.

#16 Comment By Catherine On September 15, 2017 @ 4:37 pm

I’d like to add something more insidious here. It seems all access now to the internet requires getting in by an email address. I’ve had issues with my google chromebook and gmail account locking me out for sending conservative site email. Think about this. If you can’t access the internet except through an email service, then that service has rights to lock you out of your email…therefore your computer / internet access completely. If ever my chromebook goes dark again…as google once did for disobeying their “suggestion” not to go to hannity.com, I will have no way to get back into my computer as google has locked me out of my gmail. Think how email providers now own your internet, and along with signing up you are signing onto their rules and regulation, which are now akin to total censorship and control. Not being online to bank, read, access what society has made fully through the internet locks you essentially out of the loop in your own world. This is a dangerous change. My old computer just had a password I decided on to access into the computer, and NOT attached through an email service. Now the email services own you on line.

#17 Comment By Jane Kerber, Esq. On September 15, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

The responses to essays like this are unbearably depressing. Mr. Giraldi is describing, with clarity and specificity, our descent as a thought-controlled nation. I worry that what can be documented, and analyzed within the realm of what is considered to be sane opinion, only describes the tip of the iceberg. Yet those who comment, on a conservative site nonetheless, actually ponder whether it isn’t really something else, whether it isn’t really just about money rather than politics. Or, in a stellar display of majoring in minors, they offer ideas for technical solutions that might help Mr. Giraldi fix his problems.

If one reads about how people in communist countries responded to propaganda during the cold war, one learns that at least it was recognized for what it was and was deeply resented. Here, now, we just can’t get enough of it. We actually make excuses for it.

As lawyer, when I write, I try very hard to stay grounded in reasoned argumentation. But all I can say to the display of opinion posted by readers in response to Mr. Giraldi’s essay is: People, are you kidding?

#18 Comment By Herb On September 15, 2017 @ 11:27 pm

“But most people are not completely gullible and manage to filter out the frivolous and implausible”.

Most people maybe, but it’s a narrow majority if so. A large chunk of the population neither has or is willing/able to acquire the depth of knowledge to actually make informed electoral decisions. That portion of the population is heavily influenced by tabloid headlines and their online equivalent, which rarely give a true representation of even the printed story beneath it, let alone the ‘true’ story of the events it covers. In that way an orchestrated campaign to mislead the public could be very effective at winning a swing vote.

#19 Comment By MEOW On September 15, 2017 @ 11:48 pm

If Ron Paul ran Facebook – I might sign up. Deep state is looking for all the mind control tools it can get its hands on. Facebook, YouTube, Google, and others are suspect? Who would have guessed? These folks are not going to give up control easily. They might let us eat a little cake.

#20 Comment By Fabian On September 16, 2017 @ 12:31 am

DuckDuckGo is the way to go.

#21 Comment By Adriana On September 16, 2017 @ 2:00 am

Please check the work of the free software Foundation, they have the clue for freedom, creativity and equality online and in everything with ‘code’

#22 Comment By polistra On September 16, 2017 @ 6:48 am

Shouldn’t be surprising. The purpose of the Web is to gather info for NSA.

I don’t have a problem with total surveillance. The government doesn’t harm you by passively KNOWING things about you.

When it uses the knowledge to blackmail you, we have a problem. Governments have been doing this forever. It was more expensive before the web because physical wiretaps and private investigators cost money. Despite the inefficiency, FBI has always found ways to “persuade” people to snitch or commit crimes.

The serious problem is on the active end. NSA/CIA/GCHQ are filling our eyes and ears with warmongering lies, posing as “journalism” and “entertainment”. This makes it impossible for US to KNOW anything about the world we live in.

#23 Comment By Walt On September 16, 2017 @ 8:01 am

I had a similar experience on the WaPo site.
My comments were ‘sandboxed’ so I could see them, but nobody else.
Comments which before garnered many likes, suddenly had none (nobody could see them).
Needless to say, I dropped my subscription.
But the effect was to eliminate anything that doesnt follow the party line.

#24 Comment By Diane On September 16, 2017 @ 10:24 am

I think it is important to note that, while online is an vital link for most people, Americans have also shown a propensity to vote their reality. No matter what unemployment statistics are publicized average people know if they and their families are unemployed or under-employed. They know their children can’t find good jobs. Many voters in 2016 let actual circumstances trump electronic fiction.

#25 Comment By Gerry Shuller On September 16, 2017 @ 11:11 am

LOL
This pathetic anti-American site routinely censors MY political speech.

Be the exception that proves the rule.

Post this.

#26 Comment By Eric Mader On September 16, 2017 @ 12:01 pm

Me too, I’d say Russ B is wrong that the writer’s experience on Facebook was a glitch.

For one, removing Share buttons now seems a common Facebook tactic. On one Facebook group I follow, that satirizes SJW excesses, the Share buttons for nearly all the posted memes are disabled. And these aren’t by any means offensive racist memes. They’re no more offensive than the kind of satire, say, Jon Stewart used to do. But the problem is: they make fun of the snowflake left rather than making fun of Republicans.

Silicon valley censorship, which in our society amounts to social engineering, is getting bolder by the month. They hardly even bother hiding it. Doubtless because our pathetic liberal mainstream approves. How to fight it?

#27 Comment By MEOW On September 16, 2017 @ 2:06 pm

The operatives of deep government see the internet as a fertile field. These operatives control main stream media and now the social media. It is a reasonable question to ask who these people are and what these people represent. For example – I would say 30 percent of Netflix presentations have direct or indirect mind control. This then detracts form art & entertainment and makes Netflix a majority vehicle of population-subjugation to their basic common denominator of thought control. Once the real message becomes known, I change the dial. It is a cruel hoax on an unsuspecting viewer-public.

#28 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 16, 2017 @ 2:43 pm

A great and important article, Mr. Giraldi. Many thanks.

It’s worth noting that your piece heads TAC’s “Most Read” list, yet has received only 15 comments. Fear?

#29 Comment By Dave Marney On September 16, 2017 @ 2:46 pm

This one’s easy: don’t publish your substantive content on YouTube or FB, host that yourself. Use social media just to advertise your content. Make your social announcements fit whatever Double Speak rules Big Brother has, as long as they include a link to your real thing, you’re golden.

When they figure out what you’re doing, and try to block you, then you rake them over the coals for punishing you for posting innocuous messages that meet all rules. Win-win.

#30 Comment By mickey vee On September 16, 2017 @ 3:13 pm

The article was [email protected]#$%^&*()[email protected]#$%^&*()_++_)(*&^%$#@[email protected]#$%^&*()__*%#@[email protected]#$%^&*()[email protected]#$%^&*()_(%$#[email protected]#$%^&)(*)&(*^(**&^&*^%^[email protected]!^&*)_!!! 🙂

#31 Comment By JohnS On September 16, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

Was this whataboutist piece originally written in Russian?

“…unelected, unnamed censors are operating all around the internet to control the content”

Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc., are private companies doing what they have a perfect right to do with their instruments of service. If you don’t like it, you are free to find another company.

“…something that has been taking place for years, mostly engineered by the United States”

The Bandow piece which Giraldi cites in support in support is not serious. It equates lobbying efforts by foreign governments with Russia’s efforts to undermine and sow chaos.

“Israel…perception management on a large scale.”

Stealing the emails of American citizens and releasing them through an foreign intelligence service’s cutouts, gathering kompromat, etc., all go way, way beyond mere propaganda efforts by Israel.

“The Times article…produces nothing that would equate to actual evidence that Russia was involved…”

They cite plenty of evidence. Russian politicians are even bragging publicly at this point of their interventions.

“Far more dangerous than speculation about what the Russians might have done (or what the U.S. government is doing) is the self-censorship being engaged in by the actual service providers and related media sites…”

How is speculation about what the Russians might have done dangerous? And if Russia actually did do what it looks like they did, I consider that to be far, far more serious than a private company treating its customers shabbily.

#32 Comment By Frederick Prohaska On September 16, 2017 @ 4:41 pm

Facebook has banned me several times, what they are doing in civil rights terms is they are not telling me to move to the back of the buss they are saying i cant even get on the buss, that i cant talk to people on the buss, that an entire planet of people on the buss are denied the right to see what i say to them all, or at least friends and family, i content that facebooks working with agents of a foreign government to affect political speech is UNAmerican and a violation of separation of church and state

#33 Comment By Daniel On September 16, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

I edited a book entitled “Putin in his own words” that became available on Amazon shortly before the November 2016 election. After making the following comment on Facebook:
“It is regrettable to see that the Russian card gets played the way it does during nearly every US election campaign.”
[20]

Facebook informed me it was suspending the account for 10 days for “offensive content.”

#34 Comment By Dave skerry On September 16, 2017 @ 6:29 pm

Oral speach is free but publication is not.

#35 Comment By Dwstick On September 16, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

Imagine if your local telephone company censored you or kicked you out as a customer because they didn’t like what you were saying in your calls to other people!
It’s kind of the same thing!

#36 Comment By Joe On September 16, 2017 @ 7:03 pm

As much as it may go against the instincts of libertarians, as the internet grows in importance and centrality to daily life, it is reaching a point where it is going to have to be more strongly regulated. That may include regulating ISPs like utilities, anti-trust action against Google, Amazon, Facebook and others, and the FCC imposing some kind of rules for content – not to constrain free speech, but to guarantee it. There has also been an increasing disregard for privacy by those same companies, in the quest for profit, that could be easily turned to more sinister ends if privacy laws are not strengthened.

When it comes to content, the only things that should be blocked are things that are illegal. Political speech that does not advocate violence should not be blocked or treated differently in any way. Regulations that apply to advertising, which are not always followed online, need to be enforced more vigorously.

With all of that said, there is a separate issue that is increasingly apparent, which affects many realms of commerce and content, and not just politics. That is the question of what to do about bots. In some cases they may be defensible. But they can also skew all-important rankings of views, likes, etc. They can be used to inflate online petitions to government, provide fake views to rip off advertisers, and on and on. Making sure the system is not gamed, while also respecting the privacy and freedom of users, and deciding when bots are acceptable and when they’re not is a paradox in many ways, when you start looking at specifics.

Bottom line, as we increasingly see a small handful of private companies (with very overt, publicly stated socio-political agendas) having impenetrable influence over critical systems of communication, both private and public, it is becoming clear that something is going to have to change.

One thing not mentioned here, that I think may be happening with these heavily left wing San Francisco-area companies controlling so much of the internet, is a suppression of Christian content. At least 2/3 of the US population professes to be Christian. But if you look at what you end up seeing online, which is heavily influenced by recommendation and search algorithms, you almost never see Christian content. It is either absent, or anti-Christian. Likewise, if you go to Google News on any subject, you will very rarely see anything that is not left wing. Do a Google search for “Donald Trump” or “Trump” and see what you’re presented with.

#37 Comment By Don Bacon On September 16, 2017 @ 11:33 pm

I have been knocked off FB for saying that females should not be in the infantry. My view didn’t satisfy “community standards” as determined by FB. (I’ve been in the infantry, and females should not be in the infantry.)

#38 Comment By Concerned On September 17, 2017 @ 3:59 am

Recently suspected censorship on FB myself.

Two recent “On This Day” suggestions of past posts asked me for input on whether my previous shares were “spam” and fake news. The 1st was a WeThePeople petition from 2015 for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as DNC chair for her bias against Bernie Sanders; and the other was a Bernie Sanders account post w/ a quote about our prison population.

These are the only 2 shares FB has ever flagged and asked for my input if they are “spam”. On the 1st one about DWS, I clicked “No this is not” and it removed it from the listing and said “Thanks for helping clean up FB”.

#39 Comment By Enver Masud On September 17, 2017 @ 8:51 am

Google appears to be censoring search results.
Search for “Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate”.
On Google, my article does not show. On DuckDuckGo, it does.

#40 Comment By Mccormick47 On September 17, 2017 @ 11:03 am

Catherine, you can simply create another email address through a provider unrelated to gmail. Or one for shopping, one for politics, one for things very personal.

What I find absurd about this entire discussion is that it’s taking place on a website committed to the idea that “free enterprise” solves problems with magical efficiency for the good of all.

But Google, Facebook et al aren’t governmental agents censoring your speech, they’re privately owned businesses. If a baker can refuse to provide a cake for a gay wedding, why can’t those businesses refuse to facilitate the messages they disagree with?

#41 Comment By Stefan On September 17, 2017 @ 11:32 am

“I seriously doubt that anyone was monitoring your Facebook post Mr. Giraldi and removing and then returning the Share button.”

If you think that is the default way internet censorship operates you obviously don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about. There is rarely a human agent deliberately checking out what specific dissidents are writing online. Internet censorship as practiced on Google, Facebook, Twitter (or Baidu, RenRen, Weibo) etc. rather operates on the basis of ideological signatures, hiding content that an algorithm judges to be sufficiently similar to content already deemed crimethink. In other words it’s all guilt by association. Association with, as far as western internet cencorship is concerned, the idea that there can be corporeal limits the neoliberal capitalist profitability. “Conservatism” is offensive to Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of that Silicon Valley gnostic coterie because much of what that label is applied to assumes that there exists a human essence that is not infinitely malleable. All theorizing about more concrete motivations or about self-consciously partisan political enforcement is the domain of parochial conspiracy cranks.

#42 Comment By ADC Wonk On September 18, 2017 @ 12:34 am

JohnS is right on the mark here:

Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc., are private companies doing what they have a perfect right to do with their instruments of service. If you don’t like it, you are free to find another company.

Yep. Ain’t the “free market” grand?

Of course, it’s those lefty elitists that you hate, with dripping derision, that are the ones actually concerned about monopolies and would like some regulation to help insure fair competition. When we bring it up, those on the right scream: “why do you hate successful companies?”

A different view of theory when the shoe is on the other foot?

#43 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 18, 2017 @ 9:28 am

“I don’t have a problem with total surveillance. The government doesn’t harm you by passively KNOWING things about you.”

I think it’s very clear that the battle to own the internet is very intense. Imagine the way that MS operates. The licensing programs which will shut off your product use merely because of a device change such as a motherboard or video card is beyond annoying. Lifetime license which get rejected even after thy have been up and running for more than year. The level of managerial scrutiny t takes to design programs to monitor even device changes is no small indicator of just how much control is being exerted when it comes to content.

The fact that major players are few in umber and huge in size should not be taken seriously. The shrinking size of the major players and its distance between every day users of content, in an age where terrorism and treason are hyped to cause —

given the author’s background, and advocacy — it’s not far fetched. Considering the growing links between private industry and an expanding government bureaucracy already unable to manage itself, skepticism may be a luxury.

Nothing prevented member of the NSA from abusing their tools against private citizens. People with power, access, influence and vendettas can do serious damage. I think about how much power I gave someone two months ago when I was in the height of pain. Imagine walking gingerly with ebay because they have the power to sink your reputation as well as your money. Notice how tenuously one has to deal with the police. It doesn’t take a large conspiratorial platoon to make a mess or breed suspicion. In 2002 I lost any sense of innocence about what people are capable of —

self awareness cannot be encouraged enough. And even then, the more we become dependent on tech, the more vulnerable we become. And the argument is that for the sake of efficiency — I dread my ebay account. I don’t do twitter, facebook, etc. My disqus account make me nervous. None of these outlets of expression come risk free. The threats don’t have to be Darth Vader or Lex Luther and worse the intent could be well meaning.

We are in a new, fascinating and strange – dangerous era. But I intend to hang onto my Luddite foundations as long as possible.

#44 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 18, 2017 @ 9:30 am

““I don’t have a problem with total surveillance. The government doesn’t harm you by passively KNOWING things about you.”

All knowledge s passive until it becomes useful.

#45 Comment By Jessica Smith On September 21, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

There are a lot of bombshell accusations in this article. You guys should maybe hire a tech savvy person and bounce some of these experiences off of him. Weird stuff happens in IT but when you add extreme paranoia, the results are ugly.

#46 Comment By Jim On January 12, 2018 @ 12:47 am

They are still at it. I recently have become a target of a Facebook censor anytime I am critical of Islam. Doesn’t matter that what I criticize is true, ie female genital mutilation, I get a ban.

How do you push back on this other than just not using their platform.

#47 Comment By damond c bateman On September 19, 2018 @ 5:23 pm

so when is a filthy rich conservative or libertarian going to start a place for people to discuss and share that doesn’t censor us for being bluntly honest? you cannot say anything that offends he protected classes. and truth tends to offend many o them.

#48 Comment By damond c bateman On September 19, 2018 @ 5:26 pm

so when is a filthy rich conservative or libertarian going to start a place for people to discuss and share that doesn’t censor us for being bluntly honest? you cannot say anything that offends the protected classes. and truth tends to offend many of them.