Facebook rejected a video for a conservative running for Congress in California because they claimed a video that was paid for by the candidate were “too shocking” for their platform.
Fresno native, Elizabeth Heng is running for California’s 16th Congressional District and will face Democratic congressman Jim Costa in the general election in November.
On Friday, Heng’s campaign had tried placing an ad with Facebook that contained a video showing her parent’s roots in Cambodia. A short clip at the beginning of the video shows the Cambodian Genocide. Heng narrates the video and explains how her father saved his life by pointing to “the pretties girl he saw, having never spoken to her.” When the soldiers approached the woman, she agreed that they were getting married and indeed, the next day, they did. It’s been 41 years and they’re still very happily married.
The short clip about the Cambodian Genocide is less than 20 seconds of the 3:57 min clip, yet Facebook rejected the ad. Heng’s camp received the ad-rejection which read, “We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”
.@facebook rejected my video because it was “too shocking” for their platform, referring to the scenes of horrific events my parents survived in Cambodia. Facebook, do you think it’s right to censor history? #censorship
Full ad here: https://t.co/SY0w1o327m pic.twitter.com/etvlZYK22N
— Elizabeth Heng (@ElizabethHeng) August 4, 2018
See Elizabeth Heng’s Facebook Campaign Page here: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethheng/
The Heng campaign released the following statement on Friday:
This Friday, Facebook revoked approval to advertise Elizabeth Heng’s campaign video detailing why she is running for office in the 16th Congressional District of California. Her video, which includes the story of her American immigrant parents who lived through the atrocity of communism and genocide that ravaged Cambodia in the early 1980s, evidently contained content too “shocking, disrespectful or sensational” for the platform, to quote Facebook directly.
“It is unbelievable that Facebook could have such blatant disregard for the history that so many people, including my own parents, have lived through,” said Elizabeth. “I’m sure it is shocking for some people to hear about this kind of injustice, but this is reality. This is why I wake up every single day with the fight and determination to have a voice and make a difference in my community. Neither Facebook nor any other company in the tech industry get to silence our stories. We’ve seen it over and over again with Republican candidates and organizations. This kind of censorship is an attack on the freedoms that we have as Americans to express what we believe in, and we must hold Facebook accountable.”
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media giants have recently come under fire for their Orwellian role in the censorship of conservative accounts that use their platforms. With more Americans going to social media than TV these days to get their news, the power of a select few to decide what is considered “harmful behavior” is a slippery slope–to put it lightly. What we end up with is the First Amendment being left in the hands of a small group of people, (and of course AI and algorithms), that determine what THEY deem acceptable, and the decision is left in their hands as to what information does or does not reach the public. 1984 is much closer than some realize.
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