Facebook announced on Wednesday that it again tightened its censorship protocols, triggered by perceived anxiety around a Democrat Party talking point that U.S. President Donald J. Trump didn’t go far enough in denouncing ‘white supremacy’ at Tuesday night’s Presidential Debate against former VP Joe Biden.
The move was accompanied by its own admission of censorship of the hashtags #MAGA and T#rump2020, which the platform considers to now actually be code for hate speech. “The Purge” of conservative voices had been expected, and online patriots had already taken precautions to keep their soldiers on this battlefield.
Facebook’s Director of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations told Twitter on Wednesday that posts supporting the alt-right ‘Proud Boys’ group, which was already banned from the platform, but that their motto, which is picked up by Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence technology, is being replaced with hashtags #MAGA and #Trump2020 — in other words, every supporter of the President of the United States, a month out from the presidential election, was a racist who should lose all posting privileges.
Facebook’s Brian Fishman went on to misquote the President during his tweet storm in which he said that President Trump had recited the Proud Boys motto ‘Stand down, stand by’ at the Presidential Debate and determined that this meant that the President was endorsing the group.
At the debate. President Trump actually said the words ‘Stand back, stand by,’ as if saying that phrase even meant something, as Moderator Chris Wallace tried to corner him into admitting a love for the KKK.
Of course, the reality is the President said he would happily publicly denounce any white supremacists and other hate groups, and already had many times previously, never mind hosting hundreds of black MAGA supporters, presidents of black colleges, black economic empowerment groups at the White House and, of course naming Dr. Ben Carson, the country’s first brain transplant surgeon who also happens to be black, to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Indeed, Trump’s hometown New York City is the most multicultural spot in the country, but facts do not matter in this debate)
All of that was lost on Facebook, which used the opportunity to carry through on a promise to cut down supporters of the president of the platform that it could qualify as being part of dangerous militias.
Fishman said Facebook identified more than 300 organizations to deplatform, along with taking down 6,500 pages and groups as a result of the policy announced a month ago.
I know folks are also curious about the new Militarized Social Movements policy announced on Aug 19. Bottom line: we’ve identified more than 300 groups under this policy and removed more than 6500 Groups/Pages btw 8/19 and 9/15.
— Brian Fishman (@brianfishman) September 30, 2020
In contrast to videos of rioting, burning buildings, vandalized statues and posts encouraging further destruction over its platform, or an actual group calling for armed response to protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and despite several users reporting it, Facebook has let all that stand.
As for the uneven censorship, users of the social media giants have proposed that the government step in and create an internet Bill of Rights in order to regulate them as conveyors of information much like a utility company. The danger in that proposal is that entails more government regulation, not less which is what most people want and what President Trump is actually trying to accomplish during his time in office.
The Department of Justice is deeply involved here, creating legislation to curb the social media giants from them selective censorship and holding them more accountable for permitting illegal activities and violence on its platforms.
The Department of Justice sent a draft of a legislative bill to Congress that intended to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
But, actual patriots on the front lines saw the bill as just puffery that, while it would protect President Trump from being censored, most users would still be defenseless.
Some on the Conservative side have proposed that more competition in social is the better solution but that just sidesteps the problem. Another gated community is no answer to being left out of the public square.
Parler, founded in 2018, has seen a rise in popularity and growth this year due to the recent blatant censorship oacross other platforms. But a different problem most users have found with Parler is that only the loudest voices with the largest followers are being heard. The smaller accounts, the American next door who just wants to share ideas and get involved in the conversation has no say in the matter, and it seems to be by design. If the game is controlling the narrative, that’s as big of a problem as blatant censorship, itself.
Other platforms, especially Twitter, engage in shadow-banning or a discrete throttling down of accounts in order to limit their visibility while allowing them to persist online.
A recent Twitter hack exposed screenshots from their admin dashboard that showed, to their embarrassment, how this shadow-banning technique was literally triggered by actually checking a box under an offensive account. No longer was it myth but part of their business practice; meanwhile, nothing ever came of the story, Twitter faced no repercussions.
The darkest censorship has always been on Facebook.
In August, close to 3 million memberships of Facebook groups came under review. These were voices clamoring in unison for ethics, transparency and accountability in government, those people speaking for all of us, standing up for the very ethical values and principles that this country was founded on, but fingered on Fakebook for deletion. The company glibly leaked its plan to NBC News and carried out its selective extermination a week later.
When freedom of speech is denied to a population, it only makes citizens want to speak out more. Look at China: their internet access and media are censored and they even have a firewall set up by the CCP government to keep information contained to their own borders and from the ‘Western culture’ of capitalism and democracy. But that makes the people there yearn for it even more, hence the Hong Kong protests, which were also downplayed by state-controlled media.
This is known as the Streisand effect, hiding or denying it makes us want to find out about it even more. Notably, when Barbra Streisand tried to suppress photos of her Malibu estate, more people wanted to see them. The official term is psychological reactance, where once you become aware that information is being kept from you, you are more motivated to access and spread that information.
This is, ultimately, going to be what takes these social media giants down.
People are fed up and shouting from the rooftops, louder than ever. A leader of a 65,000-strong member Facebook group that has been crashed, banned and reconstituted a dozen times on the platform, this week announced an alternative to help patriots continue to fight.
In an exclusive interview with QMN, Brian Skroski disclosed the launch of a website where every user can be cloaked to avoid AI censors as a tool to rebuild his group to launch their next attack on disinformation within the borders of Planet Facebook.
Skroski approached the publishers of QMN to use extra space on the news server to host this free service he calls Storm Riders. His goal was “to create a rock-solid place for our community to gather and then go back to the battlefield to disseminate real news, while the rest of the world sleeps.”
Rather than a social media platform, Storm Riders is a depot of users’ past and current Facebook and Twitter handles to enable them to find each other when their accounts are inevitably shut down this month, an impending doom that has preoccupied thousands of members of his group.
When the site’s technology is fully deployed this week, it will allow for a one-button recovery of all an account’s followings! Storm Riders also hosts a meme warehouse and link cloaking technology to continue the fight on the information war battlefield, side stepping Facebook’s algorithms which now block many links from news sites it considers “dangerous,” ie. truthful.
His users last night were already reporting how their posts were simply not sent or disappeared after they were sent, or they were simply being logged out of the platform. The crime, apparently, was including the #MAGA hashtag.
Facebook has made their game clear last month; their AI machinations were in force overnight, ahead of the new rules coming into effect on October 1 — that is today.
The new Terms of Service every Facebook user had to agree to grant the platform the right to remove any content or restrict access to any person or group “if we determine that it’s reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”
In other words, anyone who would force them to break the conditions of social media law that prohibits a platform from restricting use for political reasons, unlike a publisher who is responsible for all content, will be terminated.
Skroski’s ingenuity with Storm Riders is showing how patriots are fighting back, fighting for our freedoms, for our Constitution, for our country when we need it most. These are the true Midnight Riders. Skroski and the 65,000 members of his FB group are the modern incarnation of Paul Revere.
Skroski began his online freedom fighting in Anonymous and later as part of Cicada 3301, the online puzzle that trained so many Anons to later be able to piece together the crimes of the Deep State.
He’s been both preparing and dreading the arrival of October 1, but told QMN that he was ready. Like the Cicada that is born, then hibernates and emerges after 17 years to swarm and then die, Skroski said he was ready to face the noise.
He wrote to QMN last night: