After banning Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos and others from Facebook and Instagram today, the big tech platform explained to Big League Politics that any user who posts Infowars videos or content without condemning it may also be subject to a ban.
Big League Politics contacted Facebook in an attempt to gain clarification after two different media outlets published conflicting reports about the future of Infowars’ content on the big tech platform. The Verge reported that users could continue to post content and commentary complimentary toward Infowars, while The Atlantic reported that any users posting Infowars content would see it removed and possibly face a ban.
In an attempt to clarify its stance, Facebook told Big League Politics that the platform will let users make posts complimentary about Infowars or reflecting them in a positive nature, but will not allow users to post links to Infowars videos, unless they are doing so to condemn the content.
This would seem to mean that simply linking to the Infowars website is now prohibited, as virtually every article includes videos featuring Jones, and a live stream or replay of the most recent episode of “The Alex Jones Show” is featured on the sidebar of the Infowars website.
In a statement from Facebook Policy Communications Manager Sarah Pollack, she told Big League Politics that today’s decision was made after an extensive period of examining whether the platform considers Jones to “promote or engage in violence and hate,” and told Big League Politics that its “process for evaluating potential violators is extensive” and it culminated in the actions taken today.
The decision was made, in part, because Jones interviewed writer and media personality Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys and co-founded VICE News, on his platform twice after Facebook designated McInnes a hate figure.
While Facebook says it does not use the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine who is a “hate figure,” it is worth mentioning that McInnes is currently suing the SPLC for its decision to name him as a “hate figure” on its website. Several prominent persons in the SPLC have resigned from their positions as the lawsuit unfolds.
Twitter Launches Crowdsourced Fact-Checking System Called “Birdwatch” to Fight “Misinformation”
Who saw this coming?
Twitter has rolled out a new feature to fight what they consider to be “misinformation.”
The new feature, released Monday, is called Birdwatch. In a post on the Twitter Blog, Vice President of Product Keith Coleman writes that Birdwatch will allow people to identify information in tweets that “they believe is misleading” and to write notes “that provide informative context.”
“We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable,” Coleman said.
As of now Birdwatch is a standalone site, though Twitter claims they will eventually make notes posted to Birdwatch directly visible on certain tweets.
VP of Product Coleman continues: “In this first phase of the pilot, notes will only be visible on a separate Birdwatch site. On this site, pilot participants can also rate the helpfulness of notes added by other contributors. These notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now, while we build Birdwatch and gain confidence that it produces context people find helpful and appropriate. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations.”
The format of Birdwatch will supposedly combine elements of Wikipedia and Reddit’s moderation tools, according to NBC News. Birdwatch users will be able to flag tweets from a dropdown menu on Twitter itself, but discussion about the flagged tweets will only be able to take place on the Birdwatch site. Birdwatch will also implement a rating system that will allow users to upvote or downvote the notes of others.
This is the logical development of Twitter’s commitment to identify and suppress content they deem “false” or “dangerous.” Keep an eye out for more such features in the future.
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