Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles. Subsequently it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network, with the explanation that “the link you tried to visit goes against our community standards.”
God only knows what those standards might be. And, whatever you do, don’t ask Facebook. You won’t get an answer.
We were especially surprised by this action as neither prior to this seemingly arbitrary act of censorship, nor since, were we contacted by Facebook with an explanation of what “community standard” had been violated or what particular filter or article had triggered the blanket rejection of all Zero Hedge content.
Why did Facebook ban ZeroHedge, a site given mostly to economics? Here is a possibility (links omitted):
Alternatively, it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s “many problems”, including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).
Speaking of fake users, I have several thousand Facebook “friends,” the vast majority of whom I have never met. I get friend requests daily. I don’t spend more than a few seconds vetting them, but I estimate that about half of them come from actual human beings. “Fake users” is a huge problem at Facebook.
The folks at ZeroHedge aren’t as distraught as some might be by Facebook’s excommunication:
We would welcome this opportunity to engage Facebook in a constructive dialog over the company’s decision to impose a blanket ban on Zero Hedge content. Alternatively, we will probably not lose much sleep if that fails to occur: unlike other websites, we are lucky in that only a tiny fraction of our inbound traffic originates at Facebook, with most of our readers arriving here directly without the aid of search engines (Google banned us from its News platform, for reasons still unknown, shortly after the Trump victory) or referrals.
It isn’t hard to understand what is going on here. Leftists who work at Facebook, Google, et al.–probably a majority of those companies’ employees–are using their companies’ power to advance their own political views and, on occasion, their employer’s interests. This is antithetical to the free speech ethos that social media companies profess, and it is, in my opinion, contemptible. But lots of conservatives made the first mistake in abandoning the “free” internet for social media platforms that offered easier access to an audience. What social media companies give, they also can take away.
Happily, we at Power Line–like ZeroHedge–don’t depend on the favor of leftist corporate monopolies to reach our audience.