The Washington Post alleges that social media giant Facebook began to develop policies as early as 2015 that made exceptions for Donald Trump in the event that he posted content that could violate Facebook’s guidelines.
The Washington Post reports in an article titled “Zuckerberg Once Wanted to Sanction Trump. Then Facebook Wrote Rules That Accommodated Him,” that last month when President Trump made a post on Facebook and Twitter about sending the military to shut down protests and riots in Minnesota, the post was hidden by Twitter for violating its guidelines, an act which caused outrage amongst many of the President’s supporters and appeared to definitively show that Twitter was willing to censor conservative voices — even if the voice is that of the President of the United States. Facebook, in comparison, chose not to censor the President’s post.
The Post claims that in recent years, Facebook has altered a number of policies in order to accommodate President Trump. The Post reports:
Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers, according to more than a dozen former and current employees and previously unreported documents obtained by The Washington Post. One of the documents shows it began as far back as 2015, when as a candidate Trump posted a video calling for a ban of Muslims entering the United States. Facebook’s executives declined to remove it, setting in motion an exception for political discourse.
The concessions to Trump have led to a transformation of the world’s information battlefield. They paved the way for a growing list of digitally savvy politicians to repeatedly push out misinformation and incendiary political language to billions of people. It has complicated the public understanding of major events such as the pandemic and the protest movement, as well as contributed to polarization.
Internally, Facebook’s policy decisions were reportedly causing issues amongst staff who were becoming increasingly bothered by Facebook’s decisions. One Facebook security engineer, David Thiel, reportedly quit in disgust over:
Two months before Trump’s “looting, shooting” post, the Brazilian president posted about the country’s indigenous population, saying, “Indians are undoubtedly changing. They are increasingly becoming human beings just like us.”
Thiel, the security engineer, and other employees argued internally that it violated the company’s internal guidelines against “dehumanizing speech.” They were referring to Zuckerberg’s own words while testifying before Congress in October in which he said dehumanizing speech “is the first step toward inciting” violence. In internal correspondence, Thiel was told that it didn’t qualify as racism — and may have even been a positive reference to integration. Thiel quit in disgust.
Read the full report at the Washington Post here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org