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Is this a pretext to further censor mainstream right-of-center views, in light of a body of evidence accumulated in recent years regarding Big Tech’s anti-conservative bias?
With the next presidential election less than two months away, the world’s largest internet and information companies have reached an agreement to adopt a single set of criteria for identifying and removing supposedly “hateful” or “bullying” content from their platforms.
On Wednesday the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) announced that the online giants “have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”
The agreement, which follows months of advertisers pressuring Facebook to take an even more aggressive role in suppressing “hate,” encompasses uniform definitions and reporting standards as well as commitments to independent oversight and advertising management.
“The issue of harmful content online has become one of the challenges of our generation,” WFA CEO Stephan Loerke said. “As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements. A safer social media environment will provide huge benefits not just for advertisers and society but also to the platforms themselves.”
While the definitions themselves (available via downloadable PDF) address various straightforward types of material such as piracy, violence, or nudity, they also include subjective language prone to abuse.
The agreement’s definition of “hate speech,” for instance, includes content that “vilifies…groups or individuals” on the basis of “race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, nationality, religion, caste, victims and survivors of violent acts and their kin, immigration status, or serious disease sufferers” (emphasis added), which could be interpreted to stifle mainstream positions on hot-button societal or policy issues (as Twitter already does for “misgendering”).
Under “Debated Sensitive Social Issue[s],” the agreement identifies “insensitive, irresponsible and harmful treatment of debated social issues and related acts that demean a particular group or incite greater conflict.”
Conservatives fear such language is a pretext to further censor mainstream right-of-center views, in light of a body of evidence accumulated in recent years regarding Big Tech’s anti-conservative bias.
From Facebook, two whistleblowers came forward recently to attest that the platform aggressively discriminates against conservatives on a global scale for the purpose of influencing election outcomes.
One provided footage of content moderators openly discussing how they would like to delete “every Donald Trump post I see on the timeline” and “delete all Republicans … for terrorism” if they so much as post a photo “wearing a MAGA hat.” Cognizant service delivery manager Demian Gordon can also be seen saying he would not hold staff accountable for taking down Trump posts on the grounds that they “gotta get the Cheeto [Trump] out of the office.”
The other described witnessing moderators “deleting on average 300 posts or actioning 300 posts a day” in a way “that just targeted conservatives or favored liberals,” with personnel equating Trump supporters with violent hate groups, while expressly making an exception for overtly-hateful posts by the moderators’ LGBT allies in the name of supporting so-called “pride” month.
Twitter set off a firestorm in May when it placed a “fact-check” on a Trump tweet pertaining to the fraud potential of mail-in voting, then censored another Trump tweet warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” pertaining to the Minneapolis riots, for supposedly “glorifying violence.”
As for YouTube and its parent company Google, numerous leaked private conversations shows that Google is willing to enforce its far-left ideology through its ostensibly neutral services and platforms. Psychologist and technology researcher Dr. Robert Epstein warns that Google could use its vast power over search results for news and video to shift as much as a tenth of the vote toward former vice president Joe Biden in the fall’s presidential election.