In October 2018, Facebook conducted a mass purge of pages connected to alternative and independent news platforms and journalists without warning or explanation, some of which had hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers.
Among those affected were a host of pages promoting police accountability and documenting brutality, criminality and corruption on the part of law enforcement officials, such as Cop Block, Filming Cops and Police the Police, the latter boasting over five million followers. The individuals running these pages were undeterred, and quickly established ‘2.0’ successors, which gradually began regaining the footprint their fallen forebears boasted.
However, Facebook has now struck anew, deleting the replacements on the basis “it looks” like the pages’ activities don’t follow the social media giant’s internal policies.
“The implications of such a move to censor those who expose the police state are horrifying. Before it was deleted last year, Police the Police was the largest police accountability group on the internet and now, despite making back a lot of that ground, it is no longer. For years, we have exposed criminal cops and shined light into the darkness where other media outlets were scared to go. Police the Police and these other pages taught people how to flex their rights, film the police, and to not be afraid to stand up to the police state,” Free Thought Project, the online news outlet behind ‘Police the Police’, said in a statement.
The publication suggests the latest censorship blitz is related to the institution of ‘Blue Lives Matter Laws’ in US states, which elevate former and serving police officers to a protected status under ‘hate crime’ legislation, meaning authorities are now lumped in with “historically persecuted categories” like race, gender, creed, religion, and sexual orientation have been. As a result, criticism of police, even if constructive, could potentially be considered a hate crime, with significant penalties for offenders.
“Simply reporting on police crimes has apparently become a violation in the eyes of Facebook. Unless we fight back in the form of sharing information deemed ‘wrong think’ by the censors, this problem will only continue to get worse. We must continue to alert our fellow humans to this censorship before it becomes the norm. We must use this recent purge as our Streisand moment and turn this massive and blatant act of censorship around as a tool to expose the tyrants behind it,” Free Thought Project concluded.
An alternative explanation for Facebook’s resistance to establishment-critical content could be the organisation’s intimate ties with ‘think tank’ Atlantic Council, an offshoot of NATO with a board of directors that’s a veritable 'who's who' of contentious political figures old and new, including Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Robert Gates, Michael Hayden and David Petraeus, among others, funded by a number of Western governments and Ukrainian oligarchs such as Victor Pinchuk.
The pair launched an initiative to combat ‘fake news’ on Facebook in May 2018, although critics have suggested far from battling false information and propaganda, the alliance in fact simply blocks dissenting views from the social network. It has also seen a number of real people – including popular anti-interventionist Maram Susli ('SyrianGirl'), Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and British pensioner Ian Shilling – labelled bots and banned from the platform, albeit temporarily.
The leak in December 2018 of a 1,400-page rulebook outlining Facebook’s internal censorship policies amply validates the view the social media monopole isn’t concerned with battling ‘disinformation’, and cares far more about silencing views elite individuals and organisations simply don’t like. One section of the file outlines every group and individual the company has deemed a "hate figure" - algorithms and paid human moderators are required to remove any post praising, supporting or representing any of the entities listed.