Facebook temporarily blocked users from posting articles from finance and politics blog Zero Hedge this week, calling the blacklisting a “mistake.”
Zero Hedge, which often publishes critical articles about Big Tech companies including Facebook, reported on Monday that the social network had been blocking users from posting its articles.
“Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles,” the blog reported. “Subsequently it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network, with the explanation that ‘the link you tried to visit goes against our community standards.'”
“We were especially surprised by this action as neither prior to this seemingly arbitrary act of censorship, nor since, were we contacted by Facebook with an explanation of what ‘community standard’ had been violated or what particular filter or article had triggered the blanket rejection of all Zero Hedge content,” Zero Hedge explained, adding, “it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s ‘many problems’, including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).”
Public figures, including Infowars Editor-at-Large Paul Joseph Watson and Thiel Capital Managing Director Eric Weinstein, also reported problems with posting Zero Hedge links.
Facebook has outright banned all posting of Zero Hedge links, one of the biggest non-corporate owned news websites on the Internet (and a frequent critic of Facebook's power). pic.twitter.com/oMX8duQXnB
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) March 11, 2019
Get ready for new & improved 2020 US elections. This time, you will be able to share more TrustedNews from AuthoritativeSources w/o having your user experience degraded by spam, conspiracy theories, or harmful thoughts.
— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) March 12, 2019
The block prompted condemnation from President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., MEP Nigel Farage, and others, with Trump Jr. declaring, “The censorship continues. How does @zerohedge’s content not ‘meet community standards?’ FB doesn’t agree with them and they hit the platform’s obvious flaws at times. That’s it and it’s disgusting!”
The censorship continues. How does @zerohedge’s content not “meet community standards?” FB doesn’t agree with them and they hit the platform’s obvious flaws at times. That’s it and it’s disgusting!
Facebook Bans Zero Hedge | Zero Hedge https://t.co/n6YsFhvFI5
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 12, 2019
“This is a total disgrace,” posted Farage, while journalist Ben Norton expressed, “This is a huge threat to civil liberties.”
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) March 11, 2019
Facebook is censoring political content from alternative news websites. This megacorporation — which has a revolving door with the US government — has already banned and suspended other news sites and journalists.
This is a huge threat to civil liberties.https://t.co/pCjQtMD9ZS
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) March 12, 2019
Facebook bans @zerohedge
All the more reason to follow them on twitter and actively search out their content
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) March 12, 2019
The Facebook block, however, was eventually reversed, with a Facebook spokesman claiming the problem was a “mistake.”
“This was a mistake with our automation to detect spam and we worked to fix it yesterday,” claimed the spokesman. “We use a combination of human review and automation to enforce our policies around spam and in this case, our automation incorrectly blocked this link. As soon as we identified the issue, we worked quickly to fix it.”
As reported by Bloomberg, “Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has built a dedicated following by serving up a mix of hardcore financial analysis and populist political commentary,” and the blog is “known for its bearish bent and anti-establishment commentary.”
Breitbart Tech reached out to Facebook for comment.