RESTON, VA – Media Research Center (MRC) Senior Fellow LTC Allen B. West (USA, Ret) issued the following statement Tuesday concerning Facebook’s community guidelines publicly released earlier today. LTC West serves as MRC’s primary spokesperson for its Censorship Project.
According to NewsBusters, the newly published content removal policies may classify “vocalizing not liking a particular protected group” as hate speech and include protections for “immigration status.” The community standards also address how Facebook is combating fake news. While Facebook states it does not remove “false news,” the guidelines say it is “reducing the distribution of content rated as false by independent third-party fact-checkers.” Facebook has offered little transparency regarding which “independent fact-checkers” it partners with, as well as outside individuals and organizations it works with.
Statement by MRC Senior Fellow LTC Allen B. West (USA, Ret):
Facebook has made very little clear today. The takedown policies outlined are vague and could easily be abused to censor those that Facebook simply disagrees with. By their definition, my belief in traditional marriage could be spun as ‘hate speech.’ Their unnamed ‘fact-checkers’ could suppress conservative media, labeling it as ‘false news.’ When the liberal, progressive left felt they did not have a fair playing field on talk radio, they sought to impose a ‘fairness doctrine.’ The left pretends to love the word fairness until it is applied to them.
As extensive as these community standards are, Facebook has neglected to address what it is doing to ensure conservative and liberal political and cultural expression have equal footing on its website. If Facebook is truly a ‘platform for all ideas,’ as CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, it must take steps to guarantee these rules are not used to further silence and suppress conservative voices.