Facebook was recently granted a patent for shadow banning software they originally asked to patent in 2015, despite publicly promising Congress they do not censor conservatives or Christians.
Only months after publicly promising Congress that it does not shadow ban or otherwise censor conservatives or Christians, Facebook was granted a patent for software that can only be described as shadow banning software. It will allow the big tech company to prevent content from being viewed by the majority of users on the website, while doing nothing to tip off the person posting the content that its reach has been dwarfed.
Users of social networking system are provided with user interface elements permitting the user to post comments on pages within the social networking system. Pages may be provided for any non-user entity, including for example, pages for businesses, products, concepts, etc. Embodiments provided herein permit page moderators to ban certain content from being displayed on a page. For example, the social networking system may receive a list of proscribed content and block comments containing the proscribed content by reducing the distribution of those comments to other viewing users. However, the social networking system may display the blocked content to the commenting user such that the commenting user is not made aware that his or her comment was blocked, thereby providing fewer incentives to the commenting user to spam the page or attempt to circumvent the social networking system filters.
In short, if Facebook wants someone to think they are posting normally, while they are actually posting in a quarantined environment, they now have a patent to do so. This is a phenomenon that has been regularly reported by conservatives, including Big League Politics, which has seen a greatly diminished presence on Facebook after breaking major stories over the last year.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who controls 60 per cent of the company and is essentially immune to criticism from other investors or his board due to his ownership position, told Sen. Ted Cruz that this does not happen last year.
Cruz asked Zuckerberg about the “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship” that Facebook and other tech companies engage in as a matter of corporate policy.
In May of 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposefully and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck. In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day’ page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently, blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, ‘unsafe to the community.’
Zuckerberg replied, saying “we don’t have any bias in the work that we do,” but noted that a lack of political objectivity at the company “is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”
President Donald Trump recently promised to act against big tech censorship during the White House Social Media Summit, and cited Rep. Josh Hawley’s recent push to regulate Facebook and other tech companies as an example of possible avenues.
It appears conservatives are doomed to be pushed into the sidelines going into 2020 until the Trump administration is able to act.
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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