Yesterday, Project Veritas published a report: an interview with a Facebook insider, who was formerly responsible for the site’s “content review,” that claims there is targeting of Conservative pages taking place.
The contents include an explanation of “deboosting” placed on pages like Mike Cernovich and Steven Crowder, as well as standards that could get users labeled a “troll.”
According to Facebook, the former employee, who was in charge of copyright and trademark violations, was fired last year “for breaking multiple employment policies and using her contractor role at Facebook to perform a stunt for Project Veritas.” Facebook claims that she is “making valid her agenda and ignored the processes we have in place to ensure Facebook remains a platform to give people a voice, regardless of their political ideology.”
In the report, Veritas writes, “[…] the documents revealed a routine suppression of the distribution of conservative Facebook pages. The technical action [the insider] repeatedly saw, and for which Project Veritas was provided documentation, was labeled ActionDeboostLiveDistribution.” It continues to quote her as believing that the action lowers the reach of live videos without notifying users. She also noted that this command was not placed on any left-wing pages she observed.
According to BusinessInsider, Facebook claims that the tag wasn’t to “flag that content,” but is meant to punish pages that shares live videos which were actually pre-recorded, a violation of their terms.
The Verge notes that in 2016 Facebook gave a huge boost to the reach of live videos, to encourage the content, and that the “deboost” tag was made to combat users trying to game the system.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe responded in a tweet, noting a 2016 lawsuit that Facebook settled with Steven Crowder over throttling his videos:
So @colinlecher and @russellbrandom, “Some pages tried to game that system by uploading pre-recorded videos through the live AP — “ActionDeboostLiveDistribution” tag would be applied to undo the News Feed boost otherwise applied to Live videos,” are you saying @scrowder did that?
— James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) February 27, 2019
Also reported is an apparent list of standards meant to target trolls which the insider claims is “aimed [towards] the right wing meme culture that’s become extremely prevalent in the past few years.”
According to the 2017 presentation the insider leaked, use of words like “REEE,” “zucced,” “IRL,” “normie,” and “cuck” along with membership in certain groups could get a user classified as a troll.
Being classified could potentially have a user’s friend network notified in order to shame them or being placed in a “twilight zone” that would have “forced glitches” such as purposefully induced problems uploading comments or being logged out of their account.
The presentation claims that notifying “users who accidentally befriended the offender might be more mindful of suspicious accounts, increasing overall herd immunity.”
Included in the leaked presentation was a link to a video titled Why Social Justice Is Cancer: Identity Politics, Equality, & Marxism by Lauren Chen, host of Uncensored on BlazeTV and a YouTuber previously going by the moniker Roaming Millennial. This was touted as an example of the troll behavior “red-pilling normies to convert them to their worldview.”
Chen responded by saying:
“if you watch the video, it is the most egalitarian, individualistic argument against social justice you could think of. I’m essentially arguing social justice is toxic because it promotes tribalism over individuality and chips away at the concept of equality of opportunity.” She noted that she’s said much more inflammatory things on her channel, making the video an odd choice.
YouTuber and Vice Media journalist Tim Pool, claims in a video over the report that the suppression of conservative voices by Facebook, as well as banning of certain individuals from Patreon and PayPal, is creating an “alternative society” where fringe and extreme ideas can flourish. Noting the service Dissenter, which allows people on Gab (the controversial free-speech social media site) to comment on posts across the internet even if comments are turned off, Pool believes that platforms like Facebook are “forcing people into an alternative digital society which will only result in their rhetoric becoming more extreme, and it will only continue to grow.”
“As long as there is a conflict in the values of Facebook as it relates to the first amendment and being a public town square; as long as that exists and as long as there are human beings in rooms which make determinations, there’s always going to be the types of abuses the insider talks about,” claims O’Keefe. He then declared that more people need to stand up to big tech companies, saying, “we need you to come forward, we need you to wear a camera.”