A disillusioned former Facebook employee in Germany told media last month exactly how censorship and political bias are used and encouraged by Facebook Germany and its middle men.
The young lady in question, who is a left-winger judging by her own answers and explanations in the story, was temping at a company hired by Facebook to remove “hate speech” and “fake news” – the removal squad so to speak, initiated after Germany censorship laws came into effect. Her employment took place in the run-up to the elections, and she explains how predominantly right-wing websites and Facebook pages were targeted for blacklisting, shadow banning and removal of content.
The selection process of employees showed the first signs of the company’s plans. During a group discussion the candidates were asked how they felt about American politics and specifically President Trump. The one person who did not say Trump was a sexist, oppressed black people and worsened climate change was immediately dismissed, along with one woman who had stayed quiet. The other candidates were motivated with the prospect of being able to change the world for the better, to protect people from lying “Nazis”.
But after she started work, the interpretations of terms like “hate speech” and “fake news” turned out to be quite broad, and biased:
The conversation became increasingly political. My mentor told us that we should be aware of our responsibility, our opportunity to make a difference. There was an important election coming up, and a Facebook post could receive 1,000 shares and had to potential to virally reach millions of people. This included posts which could incite the population and cause more people to vote for the “Nazis” of AfD, which would increase the violence and lead to the same situation as the Third Reich.
The German interviewer rightly concludes that this “mentor” is basically saying they were to remove Facebook posts which could move people to change their political opinions, which is a kind of manipulation that has no place in democracy.
Yes, we were the protective shield of democracy and we were going to do what we could to prevent the Nazis from grabbing power in Germany. I have changed my mind since. Banning people’s opinions is not the same as removing threats and hateful comments. But when I was still there I did not see that at all. Everybody there felt the same way, and nobody stepped in to criticize what we were doing. On the contrary, we all became increasingly willing to remove more content and ban more users.
The company kept a list of 300 “hate news” websites, from Germany and abroad. The list included several inconspicuous websites which were critical of the government or its open doors immigration policy. A representative of a government-appointed foundation to deal with hate speech attended regular meetings during which the list was updated with more “suspicious” sites.
It came to a point where we were supposed to filter out things that actually happened. It was not about fake news anymore. Our mission was to get rid of highly active “extremists”, people who hadn’t really done anything wrong, but who were simply right wing. We used this method a lot, and it was very successful, more than half of the people we temporarily blocked eventually gave up.
This shows essentially how Facebook Germany, upon government instructions, is actively manipulating the public’s opinion on politics. It’s a reminder of last year’s revelation that Facebook’s “news algorithm” was actually a team of news editors deciding which topics and websites were allowed to trend and which weren’t. This team of editors had a similar left-wing bias, and although it was later disbanded and the actual algorithm turned out to -shockingly- highlight Ann Coulter headlines, it is clear that Facebook continues to look for ways to delegitimize right wing view points and commentators.
As “fake news” mania is also starting to dominate the Dutch poitical discourse (with our new government repeatedly warning against Russian (shock and surprise!) intervention in our debates, without actually being able to name any relevant examples of when that might have happened or which accounts and websites would be responsible), it is clear in each and every country where the establishment is cracking down on “fake news” and “foreign intervention” that the actual goal of “keeping the debate clean” is to protect the establishment narrative from its challengers, and – well, reality.