Facebook announced a ban on political advertising in the week before the 2020 elections—another wild swing from its double-down on free speech rhetoric earlier this year. (It still allows candidates to lie in ads. ) Slate argues this will prevent the Trump or Biden campaigns from responding to late-breaking developments or send out reminders on voting procedures.
Facebook moderators declined to take down the Facebook page of a militant group calling itself the “Kenosha Guard” or its “Defend Kenosha” event calling for an ad hoc militia to “take up arms” against Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
It’s not clear what anyone can do to slow it down at this point, as it is merging with rest of the right-wing media ecosystem. (Evangelicals are increasingly being sucked in, according to the MIT Technology Reviw and USA Today. ) But Facebook deleted an ad in which QAnon candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened AOC and others with a gun, so there’s that.
To make this clusterfuck even worse, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted they screwed up big time, but told employees and the media that its moderation teams were the ones to take the event page down under its recent change to policies on militia groups.
The pages had been reported hundreds of times for numerous posts and comments threatening or encouraging violence, but Facebook moderators repeatedly ruled the content didn’t break its rules.
Facebook doesn’t have a blanket policy prohibiting events where attendees are encouraged to bring firearms, just a ban on encouraging people to bring guns to specific locations like houses of worship and separate policies on threatening violence with weapons.
Worth a read: The Washington Post published a feature examining how moderators paid and unpaid, from sites ranging from Reddit and Nextdoor to Facebook and Google, are getting seriously burned out in 2020.
QAnon, the future of the GOP, has continued its death march into the mainstream despite announcements last month by Facebook and Twitter that they were cracking down on violent rhetoric associated with the far-right, anti-Semitic movement.
In short, Trump’s petition would task FCC with investigating if websites and social networks unfairly discriminate against conservatives—something it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to do—and punish those it finds in violation by removing their Section 230 protections against civil liability for user-generated content.