Zuckerberg Not Credible on Facebook Enforcement Error with Diamond and Silk

There is no way that Facebook enforcement censored these activists “by mistake” and Zuckerberg should not be believed.

Was the censorship and demeaning label that the social media company imposed on pro-Trump activists Diamond and Silk really a Facebook enforcement error, as Mark Zuckerberg claimed? I don’t see how. The couple worked with Facebook to solve the problem and experienced protracted frustration and finally an unappealable verdict that they were “unsafe.”

Indeed, the only reason Diamond and Silk are back in business (assuming Zuckerberg’s promises are kept) is that this was an embarrassing time for Facebook. It literally took an act of Congress to get Facebook to address how Diamond and Silk were mistreated. This duplicates many other cases where the only way to get Facebook to be reasonablt is to hurt their public image by drawing attention to what happened.

The Verge reports, “Republican lawmakers keep grilling Mark Zuckerberg about ‘censoring’ two conservative vloggers.

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) listed a series of alleged cases of Facebook censorship […], including Diamond and Silk’s complaint. “To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias,” Cruz said. Zuckerberg denied the allegation but called it a “fair concern,” […] But more lawmakers brought up the pair the next day. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) started his questioning by reading off a query […] “Please ask Mr. Zuckerberg, why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? Facebook called them ‘unsafe to the community.’”

Zuckerberg said that “in that specific case, our team made an enforcement error, and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked whether Facebook manipulated algorithms to censor speech, jumping in angrily when Zuckerberg talked about automatically finding and banning terrorist content. “Let me tell you something right now. Diamond and Silk is not terrorism!” she exclaimed.

I’ve already pointed out the threat of Zuckerberg bots censoring speech, but notice that, for now, these algorithms and automated processes basically add another level of plausible deniability. Facebook enforcement is never skewed by a political and social agenda, we are told, but only by a mixture of human and computer error. It is like a small kid being bullied but the bully always claims it was an accident that he bumped into him and made him fall.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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