Bokhari: BuzzFeed’s ‘Exposé’ of Facebook, Translated

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that …
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BuzzFeed published a four-thousand-plus word article Sunday about how Facebook goes easy on conservatives. Yes, goes easy on them. To help readers understand what Buzzfeed is trying to accomplish, we’ve compiled a guide to what they say in the article, and what they really mean.

According to BuzzFeed, the figures that Facebook allegedly treated with kid gloves include Alex Jones — who has been permanently blacklisted from the platform for years.

If that’s “going easy” on Jones, what does the opposite look like? Beating him up behind the garbage cans in Menlo Park? Nuking his studio from orbit? BuzzFeed reporters would likely support both options as reasonable.

It’s difficult to comprehend how anyone can be this dishonest, either deliberately or inadvertently. In order to do so, we must translate BuzzFeed’s article from journo-speak to regular English

Journo-speak is an increasingly complex language. It’s not meant for us proletarians to understand. It’s a series of dog-whistles, meant to be understood only by corporate diversity consultants, content moderators, and HR departments.

Although BuzzFeed spent more than four thousand words on the piece, its general message can be broken down to just three words, repeated several times: “FIRE JOEL KAPLAN! FIRE JOEL KAPLAN! FIRE JOEL KAPLAN!”

Kaplan, the main subject of the piece, is the only Facebook VP who is even vaguely conservative.

But let’s dig into some of the details. Here is our rough translation of BuzzFeed’s article, from what they say, to what they actually mean.

What they say:

…But Zuckerberg didn’t consider the Infowars founder to be a hate figure, according to a person familiar with the decision, so he overruled his own internal experts and opened a gaping loophole: Facebook would permanently ban [Alex] Jones and his company — but would not touch posts of praise and support for them from other Facebook users. This meant that Jones’ legions of followers could continue to share his lies across the world’s largest social network.

What they mean:

It’s not enough that Facebook banned someone who disagrees with BuzzFeed. They should have banned millions of other users who disagree with BuzzFeed as well.

What they say:

An integrity researcher who worked on Facebook’s efforts to protect the democratic process and rein in radicalization said the company caused direct harm to users by rejecting product changes due to concerns of political backlash.

What they mean:

A regime commissar from the ministry of truth who worked on Facebook’s efforts to stop conservatives from winning elections said the company caused direct harm to the Democrat agenda by rejecting product changes due to concerns that Republicans might object to the notion that their values, opinions, and news sources are hateful conspiracy theories.

What they say:

Kaplan’s close relationship with Zuckerberg has led the CEO to weigh politics more heavily when making high-profile content policy enforcement decisions, current and former employees said. 

What they mean:

Joel Kaplan must go, because if Silicon Valley CEOs are allowed to talk to squishy establishment Republicans, it makes them less likely to censor half of the country.

What they say:

“I think that everybody in DC hates Facebook. They have burned every bridge,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project and a former member of Joe Biden’s presidential transition team. 

What they mean:

If Facebook doesn’t silence our political opponents, we’ll give all the lucrative government contracts to Google instead.

 

What they say:

The candidacy and election of Donald Trump made Kaplan even more valuable to the company. He served as Zuckerberg’s policy consigliere, helping Facebook navigate the sea of lies and hate the former president conjured on the platform as well as the outraged public response to it. 

What they mean:

Journalists penning 1,000+ word columns to whine about the President’s posts for four years = an “outraged public response.”

What they say:

December 2015, following a Facebook post from Trump calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US — the first of many that forced the company to grapple with the then-candidate’s racist and sometimes violent rhetoric — Kaplan and other executives advised Facebook’s CEO to do nothing.

What they mean:

If you don’t abuse corporate power to thwart the policies of an elected President, you’re a RACIST.

What they say:

After a Facebook team led by then–chief security officer Alex Stamos found evidence of Russian interference on the platform during and after the 2016 US presidential election

What they mean:

After a Facebook team led by then-chief security officer Alex Stamos found a few thousand posts from Russians on the platform that had roughly zero impact on the 2016 election.

What they say:

It was Kaplan’s appearance at Kavanaugh’s September 2018 Senate confirmation hearings, however, that pushed him into the national spotlight. Sitting behind the nominee, he was visible in TV coverage of the event. Employees were furious; they believed Kaplan’s attendance made it look like Facebook supported the nominee, while dismissing the allegations of sexual assault against him.

What they mean:

We will continue to push false allegations of sexual assault against an innocent man — in an article about fake news and disinformation no less — and we’ll get away with it too, because we have power and you don’t.

What they say:

“Ideology is not, and should not be, a protected class,” a content policy employee who left weeks after the election wrote.

What they mean:

In this case, they mean exactly what they say.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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