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The Censorship of Social Media: A Facebook Experience

Paula Densnow

A quick Google search of “social media fake news” brought up thousands of hits, and, as I expected, they seemed to be dated from 2016 to today.  I recalled that the propaganda blitz started around the 2016 election, and my search confirmed that recollection.

Ironically, a Google search with those words will likely not be censored by Google, since the ruling Establishment is solidly behind the project to convince people that they should distrust  and abandon social media, and return to the comforting fold of the legacy media, now self-proclaimed the “legitimate media”.

More aptly named the imperial media, it beams the message of the ruling elites vertically, top down, into each house or car.   The citizens receive the message passively, and  have no way to catch errors, or share their skepticism or opinions with others.

90% of the “legitimate media”, TV, radio, magazines, web news and newspapers are owned by 5 mega-corporations, so you know they must be trustworthy, right?

Starting in 2016, the alarm bells of “too much Wild West freedom” have been rung in almost every one of those 90% outlets, as well as by major politicians, including Congress,  President Obama and would-be president, Hilary Clinton, (who spends a great deal of time bitterly making lists of those who she believes caused her failure).

In the spring of 2017, many alternative news websites began noticing that their reader numbers were falling precipitously.   Google had agreed to set up protocols to steer people away from those websites, in the name of countering “fake news”.   A list drawn up by a sketchy group called PropOrNot was relied upon, although many of the best news sites on the internet were included, some founded by ex-journalists, including prize winning journalists,  who had been fired from the “legitimate media” for failing to follow the imperial script.

In the following spring, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of Congress for two days of grilling and lecturing, while the Congress members extorted a promise from him that censorship on Facebook would be ramped up.

And that is what happened to me.  I have been on Facebook since 2009.  I only joined to keep tabs on my son, who never wrote and never called.  As it turned out, he never posted either, but I quickly learned that Facebook was a great place to make friends all over the country and the world, and was very good for learning news and events that would never make it onto our self-proclaimed legit media. 

It was also good for sharing skepticism of said media with other people, and countless times my friends would point out discrepancies, inconsistencies and laughable lapses of logic in the Official Stories of many events.  And yes, the laughing was important.  Hilarious memes were spread to highlight the utter ridiculousness of our leaders and their media stories and narratives.   (This widespread ridicule might be why our rulers are so fixated on stopping memes from being shared).

So, after 9 years on Facebook, I suddenly was targeted by the censors.  Starting last winter, I would be scrolling along on Facebook, as I had been for years, and suddenly, there would appear an announcement that I had violated “community standards”.    My first jail sentence was for 24 hours, the next was for 3 days, and I am now doing a fifth 30-day stretch in the hole since last December.

What “community” was this, that was so offended by my posts and comments?  Apparently, it is the “international community” our rulers tell us are so important.

I got two sentences for pointing out that the US had backed a coup in Ukraine in 2014 that has open Nazis involved, and posting a picture of some of them, posing with NATO and SS flags.

Yes, the US spent $5 billion to overthrow the elected Ukrainian government, according to Victoria Nuland, who should know, since she was there, passing out cookies and picking the next dictator.

“Yats! Yats is the guy”.

Now Ukraine has open Nazis in the government, glorifying their Nazi ancestors, killing over 10,000 civilians in eastern Ukraine, and attacking gays, Russians, Roma and political opponents in the rest of Ukraine.

But we’re supposed to send those brutal Nazis more weapons?

On what planet is that a good idea?

“The community” was quite offended by that statement.

The first 30-day sentence was then extended another 30 days for a crime of posting I had somehow managed to commit even though I hadn’t been able to log in to Facebook at all those first 30 days.  

This sentence was served with access to my Facebook page, i.e. I could see my page, but was unable to post, comment, “like” or message.   The ensuing jail sentences have all been like this.  I can see my page, but I cannot engage with anyone.

My next crime was posting about a couple in England who had been arrested, imprisoned and lost their baby for the crime of naming him Adolf and being Nazi sympathizers. They had committed no actual crimes. How is it possible that pointing out that there are NATO-backed Nazis in Ukraine is verboten, but also that calling for freedom of speech and ideas, even for Nazis, is also verboten?  

Does the community support armed Nazis in the Ukrainian government, but oppose unarmed parents in the UK who name their baby Adolf?  Where is the logic in that?  (I need a meme for this).

My next two sentences were for comments, not posts.  They were on different friends’ posts, 40 days apart, but both were for the crime of pointing out that it was easy to tell who listens to the imperial media, because they repeat the dominant narrative verbatim, as if it were their very own thoughts, carefully considered and crafted.

Because I can see my page, I have noted that many of my Facebook friends assume that my bans are because one of my friends has turned me in to the authorities.  The advice of many people is to distrust my friends, preemptively block people for my safety and to only post to a limited audience.

I am inclined to dismiss this theory.  The fact that we went through 2 ½ years of anti-social media propaganda, the fact that Facebook openly vowed to censor, the fact that thousands of censors were added and the Atlantic Council was hired to help, seems to be a more reliable guide to my constant bans than the belief that my friends suddenly turned treacherous after 9 years.

Recall that our overlords are skilled at disrupting movements.  We know that part of the 1960s CointelPro program was a campaign to sow mistrust and paranoia between comrades, and the FBI would send letters accusing people of sabotage and infidelity, to rupture long standing friendships and alliances. 

I see no reason to doubt that this strategy of sudden bannings, with no reason given, no complainer named, or recourse allowed, is deliberate. They want us to withdraw from social media, or at least, to limit the number of people with whom we interact.

The uncertainty about what constitutes community standards, the randomness of the targeting, the inability to appeal, all contribute to a climate of  fear among Facebook users which make people hesitant to post on certain subjects and share certain stories, even if the sites on not on Facebook’s official banned list of sites.  This, combined with the actual removal of thousands of people for 30 day sentences, shuts down free and open discourse.

The destruction of the horizontal communication between the people of the world made possible by the flowering of social media is to be resisted. We need to hold clear the principle that we have the right to share information, news and opinions without censorship or discrimination.

Social media platforms are privately owned, but they have a natural monopoly that cannot be replicated, and they are a common carrier of the kind that should be recognized as subject to laws forbidding discrimination or censoring.  They are the new town square, and everyone needs to have equal access to the soap boxes.

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Rima
Rima

The nationalistic movement in ukraine have raised its head due to the russian interference in the life of ukraine and its occupation of Crimea nd Donbass.
Although I fully condemn their existence, let alone methods and slogans, yet I fully understand how and why this movement takes place over there.
On the other hand, I fully understand that here, in the West, it is almost impossible to be fully aware of what the answers to many what, why and how.
I am not claiming any right to be RIGHT.
The smallest thing that I can find helpful is to refer you to a site ‘bellingcat’. They are a bunch of independent journalists, IT specialists, etc, who voluntarily investigate complex issues, publishing the facts and proofs of their work.
Perhaps, their articles on the ukraine-russia military conflict in Donbass which i was reading in 2016-2017 are being placed into archives, but you might be able to extract them – just have a look.
Their materials are factual and well grounded. Now, they are quite known and even provide some assistance to some governments, if I am not mistaken.

As for the FB ban:
1) whatever your reaction: to approve the nazi or to condemn – she still should not have re-posted the photo with an image of swastica – this is ‘engagement in nazi propaganda’ – however much unwillingly.
2) She writes: “I got two sentences for pointing out that the US had backed a coup in Ukraine in 2014” – of course, she would be banned! As I said above – the Ukrainian events in 2016 WAS NOT THE COUP!
And the US DID NOT play such a great role as the russian propaganda is claiming and some lazy (or unprofessional) media are copying.
So, however much I sympathise with Paula’s plight of being ostracised by FB, but I fully agree with FB’s banning her: before one reposts something sinister – one should research and investigate.

Again – from Paula:
“My next crime was posting about a couple in England who had been arrested, imprisoned and lost their baby for the crime of naming him Adolf and being Nazi sympathizers. They had committed no actual crimes. How is it possible that pointing out that there are NATO-backed Nazis in Ukraine is verboten, but also that calling for freedom of speech and ideas, even for Nazis, is also verboten? ”
Well, this Paula clearly has no understanding.

Again, in order to “digest” some news…
Let me use a metaphor in here:
Prior to “digesting”, one has to get ingredients, first. Then find a recipe, then buy a cooker, then cook, cool the cooked dish down and only then eat. Still, there is no guarantee one can digest!
Yet, this madam – a mother of a child, actually! – reads something and puts it straight in to her mouth (literally and figuratively) – bypassing her brain.
No wonder she does not understand….

thui
thui

Rima, you should take ur own advice, and not be so quick to be cheerleading for censorship.

eastangle

This is only going to get much worse, but fear not! We in Blighty have a chance to participate in the Online Harms White Paper proposals.

Joking aside, I would definitely recommend taking part and filling out their questions before further oppression. We should never let apathy and feelings of impotence make things too easy for them. It’s what they rely on.

https://dcms.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5nm7sPoxilSoTg9

cosisaidso
cosisaidso

It is unfortunate that the author dismisses the theory that reports by users result in Facebook bans. I have been banned only once, the direct result of a report by a vengeful Facebook “friend”. I am quite sure who, and why.

It is true that Facebook bans have become more common since 2016. Two of my most outspoken Facebook friends endured 30-day bans in 2019, and several in 2018. Friends have become accustomed to their going missing. In some cases they know exactly who reported them, and why. In others, the ban was most likely triggered by certain words.

On another note, I would gently remind readers that CoIntelPro was much more than an attempt to sow mistrust and paranoia. It was a government program created to destroy specific organizations by any means necessary, including deliberate murder of men, women and children, and lifelong incarceration of the organizations’ leaders, many of whom are still being tortured by decades of solitary confinement.

Finally, Facebook is a corporation aligned with the US government and other sectors to censor speech and disrupt the flow of meaningful conversation, but it does not have authority to target individuals outside of its platform. In other words, users are free to leave this platform and organize in other ways, including direct action.

Feel the same?
Feel the same?

Very Serious Allegations of destroying the fabric of communications between humans:

“The destruction of the horizontal communication between the people of the world made possible by the flowering of social media is to be resisted.”

These are in fact so serious that merely: “We need to hold clear the principle that we have the right to share information, news and opinions without censorship or discrimination” is not enough.

Destroying the fabric of human communications necessitates things that are far bigger than holding someone to account or simply adjusting some practices (or innovating some theories). At a minimal first step, those responsible for these crimes must be taken out of circulation, in a way that makes it impossible for them to have any input on a new system.

Flashback
Flashback

Recall those movies where the white blondies massacring native Red Indians just for ‘Entertainment’ and just for the fun of it?

The US is ruled by people with the exact/same mentality but with a much more immense target. The target is the whole planet. With psychopathic Superiority and Arrogance, they have no qualms trampling and destroying everything they don’t like, from humans to plants … to air, water and land.

The sooner something is done with the governing Elites, the better for every breathing creature!

different frank
different frank

Around the time of the fake James Foley beheading, youtube deleted any analysis of the video, and the video itself, but you could watch real beheadings without any age restriction.

Gerda Halvorsen
Gerda Halvorsen
Gerda Halvorsen
Gerda Halvorsen

People should just abandon FB, and get all their friend to also do so…

  • Gerda Halvorsen
    Gerda Halvorsen

    there are alternatives… ello, Diaspora, Mastodon, Vero etc. Really, get all your friends and make the shift!

    George
    George

    I have noticed certain websites that set themselves up as guides to discerning “fake news”. I only have one rule: Avoid all such websites since they themselves are purveyors of fake news. I would never censor anything. I’d encourage people to read it all and make up their own minds. Of course – I’d offer my own (often passionate) opinion on what is bullshit and what is not. But it’s only through argument that you can get to the truth.

    Tutisicecream

    First they came for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
    Then they came for Edward Snowden, but he got asylum in Russia
    Then they came to silence the Guardian commentators
    Then they came for the Alternate media
    Then they came for Face Book friends, Google algorithms and the Twitterarty.
    They then came for the journalists en-mass – including the many who had taken the kings shilling
    Finally they came for me but there was no one left to speak out for me…

    Tutisicecream

    First they came for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

    Then they came for Edward Snowden, but he got asylum in Russia

    Then they came to silence the Guardian commentators

    Then they came for the Alternate media

    Then they came for Face Book friends, Google algorithms and the Twitterarty.

    They then came for the journalists en-mass – including the many who had taken the kings shilling

    Finally they came for me but there was no one left to speak out for me…

    Frank Speaker
    Frank Speaker

    I agree with Paula.

    But let’s take a step back for a moment. Facebook is a corporation and they can do anything they want, within the law. They can cut whatever content they want, it’s their prerogative. They also don’t charge money for any account, so that gives us less excuse to complain about them.

    The real issue here is that so many people have been hoodwinked into sharing all their family and friends info, hopes, desires, etc, etc, with a private company that’s completely unaccountable to anyone except its investors. That mass of data is also shared with the NSA no doubt.

    We the users are stupid. I only used Facebook a little, but closed my account two years ago due to awakening to these concerns.

    Charles Strouss
    Charles Strouss

    Actually, the social media sites have claimed to be common carriers, which gives them immunity from liability for what other people post. Now when they start becoming content editors, they are no longer common carriers, they are publishers, and thus they are liable for what they choose to publish.

    An analogy would be that the phone company is not liable if people slander other people on a phone call… but a radio or television station *IS* liable if someone slanders other people over the air, because they exercise editorial control of what content they allow.

    It is expected that congress will change the law to grant the giant social media companies a brand new status that lets them censor without responsibility, or that there will be some government panel to decide on policy, thus making them semi-official government monpolies. Zuckerberg has stated that he is in favor of this.

    It seems that companies like FAANG are so huge that they will dominate the market forever, but that is not guaranteed. Remember AOL? But if these companies are written into law with special considerations, that could secure their positions in perpetuity.

    Rhisiart G
    Rhisiart G

    We can comfort ourselves with the thought that the whole internet phenomenon is likely to be a transient event in history, with what’s left of it – if anything – by the end of this century likely to be a ghost of its current self.

    Or all those addicted to ‘social’ media may, alternatively, comfort themselves with the faith-based idea that growthforever and techno-PROGESS! will continue onwards and upwards into the hallucinated startrekky Vulcan future. But be warned: by the middle of this century, that article-of-faith is pretty certainly going to be feeling distinctly threadbare.

    Frank Speaker
    Frank Speaker

    What happened after WW2, where did many Nazis go?

    USA

    This is what has become of the USA, it’s become an outright fascist regime, and they don’t want people pointing the truth out.

    axisofoil
    axisofoil

    It looks more to me like the USA is where the Nazi’s origionated, and we just exercise them over there to get a feel for it. I hope when it gets to the hard core stuff we rehire Hugo Boss to design our uniforms. CNN can really go to town on our sharp style. We need something snappy and stylish to focus on during TV dinners.
    When we created ISIS, we forgot all about this and ended up with a motley crew of bearded hooligans in tennis shoes and english accents blowing themselves up. No matter, once we silence dissent, we’ll roll out something dazzling. Then we can easily get the ‘total awareness’ masses to walk around with a new moto “Zip it bozo, you’re upsetting the apple cart”. Kind of rolls off your lips. Beats ‘Yes We Can’ anyway.

    different frank
    different frank

    Watch everything is a rich man’s trick.

    axisofoil
    axisofoil

    Have watched. Amazing isn’t it. So amazing that it’s almost hard to believe, and yet it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If you think about the level of human carnage, you almost have to question the very nature of the human species.

    milosevic
    milosevic

    systemicfraud
    systemicfraud

    Anti-establishment comedian Jimmy Dore has covered the censorship being put in place over the last couple of years–alarmingly, it is war criminals like Henry Kissinger and Michael Chertoff on the board of the Atlantic Council who are deciding what links can be posted.

    Rhisiart Gwilym
    Rhisiart Gwilym

    Regarding Chertoff: Chris Bollyn (www.bollyn.com) fingers him as one of the key US/zionistan sayanim behind the 11/9 attacks. So – very much the sort of creep to block our access to awkward material that the Anglozionst empire’s gangsters-in-charge don’t want us to know about. It’s one of the things he’s been doing since 11/9/01 to keep the lame-brained, magical-physics official cospithirry afloat, and to prevent understanding of what really happened, and who was behind it, from spreading – not very successfully, thank heaven.

    Ramdan
    Ramdan

    Check Chris Hedges column: ‘The thought police’ (though I would have call it ‘The upcoming dystopian world’):

    His arrest eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities carried by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments in the seizure of Julian two months ago from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power, no matter what their nationality, will be hunted down around the globe and seized, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where journalism is outlawed and replaced with propaganda, trivia, entertainment and indoctrination to make us hate those demonized by the state as our enemies.

    Kolokol
    Kolokol

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action’” – Goldfinger

    Kolokol
    Kolokol

    So why doesn’t OffG have a share to VK button?

    OffG
    Admin
    OffG

    Because we don’t have that option at the moment. We’ll need to make software changes and that costs time and possibly money. We’re looking into it.

    Frank Speaker
    Frank Speaker

    WordPress has VK share buttons available as free addons, it’s a 15 minute job. Hope your IT supplier is not taking you to the cleaners, it’ll be max 1 hour billable time if they’re honest with you.

    Kim Carlson
    Kim Carlson

    Excellent post, Paula. The sad part about this is that just as there are those who say they don’t mind being patted-down or x-rayed at the airport because they have nothing to hide, there are probably more who are unaware how they, too, are targets for censorship because they believe that Facebook, CNN, and the NYT are looking out for their best interests. They’re not.

    Charles Strouss
    Charles Strouss

    The whole TSA is a major psy-op to condition us to acquiesce while the government abuses other people. Of course if so much as raise an eyebrow, we know we won’t make it on our flights.

    Mary Vogt

    Brava, Paula! When I suggested that you might post privately (friends only) or trim your friends’ list, it was because I realize that that is how FB sometimes is able to censor someone. If you post publicly, anyone can report your posts, so once you’re on the radar, any group of people can mass-report you and get you instantly thrown off. Is this any different than FB itself throwing you off? I don’t know; the reporters get the same result which has nothing to do with actually violating any guidelines. Do these groups of ‘reporters’ (which I’ve seen in action as someone who had a couple of groups stolen by these people) work for FB, so it’s a wash? There are so many possibilities.

    But the bottom line is, whether my theory or yours is correct, FB is still censoring, and not according to any so-called ‘community standards’ violations. And as you say, there is no recourse. So whether someone gets put in FB jail because they trigger an algorhthim, they are mass reported, or it’s the Atlantic Council’s personnel actually physically spying, it’s all pretty insidious. It appears that people who are anti-imperialism and not supporting any major political party or narrative are the ones targeted. And yes, it’s a very effective way to scare people out of posting what they want, or posting to friends-only, thus limiting their reach. I applaud you for speaking out and I hope this article is shared widely.

    I for one won’t go quietly off of FB.

    mark
    mark

    People don’t have abortions any more, they have “terminations.”
    Builders don’t construct flats any more, just “apartments” and “penthouses.”
    There is no such thing as “censorship” any more, just “community standards.”

    Glad we’ve got that all sorted out.

    Sue Donym
    Sue Donym

    Taking the opportunity to get in a little backdoor jab at abortion, eh?

    mark
    mark

    No, just call a spade a spade. I’ve seen abortions and they aren’t pretty.

    Question This
    Question This

    Indeed brexit has been pretty messy & look what we May end up with a BJ.

    axisofoil
    axisofoil

    Tim Jenkins
    Tim Jenkins

    Simples: Terminate elitist penthouse community standards 🙂

    Alles Klar, m8

    ‘Burn down the Mission’ demands a sublime strategy . . .

    in a surreal world of corporatists, bent on Armageddon 😉