By Tyler Bauer
This past Thursday, Facebook deleted more than 800 pages and accounts. According to Facebook, the pages and accounts involved in the most recent purge – all of which were independent media sources – were deleted for “flooding users with politically-oriented spam” for profit. (Interestingly, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and other mainstream news sources which flood users with politically-oriented spam for profit were not affected.) Among those affected were some of my favorites, including The Free Thought Project, Police the Police, and Being Libertarian. For a more comprehensive list, click here.
Why is Facebook Purging these Accounts?
The official motive is to remove pages and accounts which post politically-oriented spam for profit. I don’t believe this for a second. If this was the true motive, mainstream sources like Fox and CNN – as well as independent sources like Occupy Democrats and Donald Trump is My President would’ve been taken down as well. Heck, even the political parties’ official pages would’ve been taken down. After all, they post messages in hopes of getting donations. If that isn’t flooding users with politically-oriented spam for profit, I don’t know what is.
Who is Behind the Purges?
Social media sites censoring content and deleting content creators is nothing new. Much has been said and written about this before (including an article by yours truly). With the importance of social media and the internet in our everyday lives, much of the content we consume – whether it be political or otherwise – comes through social media platforms. The popularity of the internet and social media sites has made entities like Facebook, Google, and Twitter extremely powerful. So, why would they abuse that power by censoring us?
In isolation, entities like Facebook and Google have little, if anything, to gain from censorship. However, the people and groups behind these entities have everything to gain.
When it comes to censorship, it’s fair to assume that a government is involved in one way or another. As for Facebook posts, the Israeli government is perhaps the most notorious group to request censorship. For years, the Israeli government has been collaborating with Facebook to censor content that is critical of Israel’s actions in occupied territories. Rather than change their ways and act responsibly, the Israelis have decided to attempt to silence any voices which shine a light on Israel’s countless atrocities. The voices most likely to do such a thing are independent media sources without corporate interests, such as pages like The Free Thought Project and Being Libertarian. Since mainstream media sources like CNN and Fox wouldn’t dare expose Israel, they can continue to operate unaffected.
Furthermore, the US and Israeli governments are now telling Facebook which pages and accounts to delete in these purges. For example, at the order of the Israeli government, Facebook deleted a number of pages and accounts associated with pro-Palestinian activists. As for the US, Facebook deleted Ramzan Kadyrov’s account. Kadyrov is the totalitarian leader of the Chechen Republic and an all-around despicable person. Did Facebook delete his account for torturing gays? No. For killing dissidents? No. Why did Facebook delete his account, then? According to Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, the deletion of Kadyrov’s account was “not because Kadyrov is a mass murderer and tyrant, but that ‘Mr. Kadyrov’s accounts were deactivated because he had just been added to a United States sanctions list and that the company was legally obligated to act.’” Facebook doesn’t care about the tortured gays in Chechnya – Facebook only cares because the US government requires them to care.
Where to Go
Facebook is still the biggest social network site in the world, but with the frequency of its purges, many users are starting to look elsewhere to find a site where they won’t be censored. If you’re looking for a new, freer social media site, I’d recommend Minds, MeWe, Liberty.me, and Steemit, all of which I’m either already on or in the process of getting onto. And, if you’re still on Facebook but looking for a compilation of independent sources, you should check out Censor This.