Reporters Without Borders, an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based in France, is suing Facebook over deceptive trade practices, on the basis that it allows “disinformation and hate speech to flourish on its network.”
The lawsuit, filed in Paris, cited examples of “disinformation” related to COVID-19 among its justifications.
As regards disinformation, RSF provides two legal officer’s reports compiled in December 2020 (478 and 86 pages, respectively) showing how easy it is to access large amounts of significant disinformation about Covid-19 that Facebook has not labeled as such. For example, five different posts of the conspiracy theory video Hold-up – five of the many available on Facebook – were viewed more than 4.5 million times in two months.
Another film, Manigances-19, containing numerous falsehoods about Covid-19 according to AFP analysis, was viewed an average of nearly 4,000 times a day for two months. The lawsuit also cites the case of a post including a link to a video entitled UN member Claire Edwards denounces the planned Covid-19 genocide (Censored), which has potentially been viewed by nearly 400,000 users.
Reporters Without Borders also cited violent threats against employees of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, who were the targets of an Islamist terrorist attack in 2015 that left twelve people dead.
With regard to combatting online hatred, RSF provides two legal officer’s reports (of 80 and 73 pages, respectively). The first concerns the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s Facebook page at the time it published the “Tout ça pour ça” issue in September 2020, coinciding with the start of the trial of those accused of complicity in the massacre at the magazine’s headquarters in January 2015. RSF registered dozens of comments containing insults, threats and calls for violence against the magazine and its journalists.
The NGO’s lawsuit is based on the notion of deceptive practices, arguing that because Facebook promises its users to provide a “safe” and “error-free” experience, it is deceiving consumers.
Facebook has dramatically escalated its efforts against so-called disinformation since 2016, implementing an elaborate system of “fact-checking” that gives establishment media companies and liberal fact-checkers the effective power to suppress competition from the alternative media.
Nevertheless, the establishment media continues to pressure Facebook for even more censorship and favoritism. During the 2020 election, establishment media in the U.S. encouraged major corporations to join an ad boycott against the social network. The boycott was spurred by allegations that the platform was not doing enough to censor “disinformation” from then-President Trump – in the middle of an election year.
Establishment media is also asking national governments to force tech companies to give them favorable treatment. In Australia, media companies have pushed for legislation that would force tech companies to pay media companies — many of them international corporations — for content.
In the U.S., media companies are pushing the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would give media companies an exemption from antitrust law, allowing them to band together in a cartel to pressure the tech giants.
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.