Facebook Turns on Trump, Is That a Problem?

Mish

Following surge in reports of violent content ahead of Capitol attack, Facebook executives took their most aggressive steps yet to rein in the president and his supporters.

The WSJ reports Facebook Turned on Trump After Warnings That ‘Business as Usual Isn’t Working’

Timeline

  1. As footage of a pro-Trump mob ransacking the U.S. Capitol streamed from Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, Facebook Inc.’s data scientists and executives saw warning signs of further trouble.
  2. User reports of violent content jumped more than 10-fold from the morning, A tracker for user reports of false news surged to nearly 40,000 reports an hour, about four times recent daily peaks.
  3. Two of Mr. Trump’s posts came down and Facebook privately classified the U.S. as a “temporary high-risk location” for political violence.
  4. Facebook banned Trump for 24 hours.
  5. Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook would extend its ban of Mr. Trump through at least the inauguration. Later that morning it deleted one of the most active pro-Trump political groups on Facebook, the #WalkAway Campaign, which was cited repeatedly for breaking Facebook’s rules last year but never taken down.
  6. Monday, Facebook said it would prohibit all content containing the phrase “stop the steal”.

Mark Zuckerberg Statement

Here is a Statement by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO.

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

Where's the Line?

That's the question of the day. Implicit in the question is whether there should be a line at all.

Freedom of Speech

Some aspects of the discussion are not really about freedom of speech or censorship in the first place. Companies have the right to decide their own practices and own lines.

What's the remedy?

Allow people to propose violence, ignore the threats, then prosecute after many people are killed.

Mish

Comments (64)
No. 1-23
Sechel
Sechel

Was it free speech to go on social media like Twitter and Facebook, FOX Newsmax and OAN and claim Dominion and Smartmatic were altering votes when there was no evidence supporting this? Such talk helped incite violence

Sechel
Sechel

Facebook and Twitter are publishers. They should be held to that standard. Media outfits like FOX & OAN are dangerous echo chambers. especially OAN. I'd look at bringing back the fairness doctrine

Frilton Miedman
Frilton Miedman

Every ounce of me is anxious over a private entity deciding what defines free speech.

But then, after watching a relatively young woman die attempting to gain direct access to members of Congress with an angry mob, it occurs to me why any Constitutional right comes with limits.

(the 2nd amendment doesn't allow private ownership of Nukes, for example)

At the end of this, I see legislature requiring FAR more transparency being required from internet sources.

For example-

Where "Qanon" has so much influence, Qanon should be required to disclose who they are, where they live, disclose it's finances and sources.

This way we don't have private entities stepping in to decide what's "Free Speech", consumers of these sources are able to see who they are, what motivates them financially or politically and what country/entity they represent.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

Let’s check in with trump on this issue.

“Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”
-Trump tweet September 2017

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

So...as I keep harping on....

The real elephant in the room here is how social media platforms with their ad-based revenue model and their out-of-control AI algorithms act as potent filters to steer people toward the very content that causes all these problems.

Facebook and YouTube in particular....and to a lesser degree the other platforms that use AI to help them sell things to consumers....are primary inciters of the divisive politics of our time. This needs to be recognized.

Nothing can be fixed by anybody without addressing this....and it’s probably a lost cause.

LewisM
LewisM

The problem is that social media has been weaponized. It clearly brings out the absolute worst in people, can be used to foment lies and threats to the political order (what seemed so good when the "Arab Spring" happened in another part of the world doesn't seem so great when the mob is ransacking your own capitol building) and is generally terrible for people's emotional and mental wellbeing. I don't know what the solution is, I'm guessing most people here would be against the idea of government regulation, but something clearly has gone wrong.

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

We can't let this belief you have total free speech wherever you roam trump private property rights. Private property rights are the most important part of this argument and they are rarely mentioned in the Trump cult's need to play the victim card.

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

@Mish I hope this helps lighten the mood here, and not just be a grammar-Nazi thing: "Turns on" could mean Facebook re-instated/re-activated the Trump account. Or, it could mean they turned their guns to shoot at Trump. Anyone else do a double take on the posting headline?

danisssy
danisssy

Facebook also banned Ron Paul. I suppose you also think he's guilty of hate speech and incitement?

danisssy
danisssy

Some questions for Mish.
Where (specifically) did Trump incite violence?
Should anyone who endorsed the BLM riots also be removed, given this also seems to violate the ToS?
Do you also think Ron Paul is guilty of inciting violence and hate speech?
Do you consider it justifiable for utilities (natural monopolies) to refuse service to people who's view they disagree with? Such that such a person cannot access electricity, gas, water etc.

Your post ignores the hard questions, so I am keen to hear your answers to these.

Esclaro
Esclaro

MAGA ISIS is now recruiting terrorists and advocating the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. They should ALL be arrested to face long prison terms and the death penalty. The Nazis in Germany should have squashed like bugs and this is what needs to be done here. No tolerance for treason or traitors!

CCBW
CCBW

So Kamala Harris as soon as she is in office they should impeach her for saying the protests and riots of BLM & antifa will continue and should that is just as bad as Trump If not worse. Then Biden said he wanted to beat the hell out of Trump Maybe we should also charge Biden with threating the President though I’m pretty sure Biden would not show up he’s all talk. I think we are headed for a command and control government. I’ve seen a poster of political systems as a circle. Freedom at the bottom center. Communists at the upper left at 179.9 degrees from freedom. Fascism is to the right at 179.9 degrees from Freedom. Our Founding fathers wanted to be as close to center bottom as possible I think they would be stunned what we have done to their Country. Now AOC thinks all concretive people have to be retrained to think right or should I say LEFT. I hope all of you live at least 30 years so you can learn conformity, oh goody 1984 is here just 37 years late well it was good while it lasted. ccbw

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I made the mistake of thinking most people aren't gullible enough to believe everything they read on the internet. Over time the internet has turned into a haven for conspiracy theorists.

ROGO1
ROGO1

Having global conversation & Being a Nation of Laws works!.. Trumpism does not!

ROGO1
ROGO1

🌊🌎✌!

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

I heard that Twitter is now going to ban 'anti jab' news....This is getting better by the day...or by the hour rather.....Once upon a time we had something called Free Speech, the ruling establishment NEVER liked it though... The Fraudulent elections and 'The Virus' turned out to be the ideal excuse to finally deal with similar, crazy, democratic, prerogatives !

strataland
strataland

The notion that citizens were somehow called to arms (or called to riot) by the President is ridiculous and serves only to promote a "made up" narrative.

strataland
strataland

Your response reveals the polarization that occurs when it supports a narrative. I can clearly see the Presidents verbal effort to rally a crowd and encourage them to make their voices heard, a far cry from riot and break into the Capitol.

strataland
strataland

Not sure how this relates to the assertion that Trump incited insurrection last week and deserved to be removed from social media.

strataland
strataland

To answer your question, no. But it seems to me that social media acts much like a utility or telephone company with special rights and protections and, therefore, should not be censuring one over another. I appreciate the respectful dialogue.

strataland
strataland

Err, no, that is not the point of my post and it is hardly a rant. Read my prior post where answered your question. Were there others? Section 230 of the Communications Act in the U.S. is the section that safeguards social media companies from being held liable for the user’s posts. It says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

strataland
strataland

Nope. You just seem to want to pick a fight. Americans have way more in common with one another than differences. We would be better off celebrating our common goals while learning and trying to make ourselves better.


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