As I reported yesterday, Facebook and Twitter all but admitted in announcements made Wednesday that they deliberately manipulated how their platforms work and display news articles in a way they felt would help Democrats prior to the election and immediately afterward.
For those of you who missed them, here’s what happened: Facebook changed its algorithm shortly after Election Day to favor links to traditional old-media (liberally biased) “news” outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. They are now rolling back the change:
Bit of news: Facebook has rolled back a post-election change it made to its news feed algorithm to boost authoritative news and tamp down misinformation, despite some employees asking if the “nicer news feed” could stay. https://t.co/PTxRESJkP1
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) December 17, 2020
As to what Twitter did, Dave Rubin explains it in a nutshell:
This is incredible. Two weeks before the election Twitter changed how you retweet because they obviously didn’t want certain things to go viral. Now that they got the result they want, they’re going back to the old way.
Big tech is manipulating us in ways we can’t imagine. pic.twitter.com/J7jH0ogqli
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) December 16, 2020
To say that “big tech is manipulating us in ways we can’t imagine” is putting it mildly. Making the waters even choppier to navigate for conservatives and other critics of Democrats, Big Tech, and the media is the fact that Instagram is really no better than FB and Twitter when it comes to concocting ways to make it harder for users to share information that goes contra to Democratic party/media-driven narratives.
This is not exactly a shock considering Instagram is owned by Facebook. But in a recent newsletter, independent journalist Glenn Greenwald explained just how bad it was there in a report detailing how one Instagram user’s post that was critical of Biden’s authorship of the 1994 crime bill got flagged by the platform’s USA Today “fact-checkers” over a claim that was at best true and at the worst arguable (but not necessarily false):
As first noted on Monday by former Sanders campaign organizer Ben Mora, Instagram publicly denounced as “False” a post on Sunday by the left-wing artist and frequent Biden critic Brad Troemel, who has more than 107,000 followers on that platform. Troemel’s post said nothing more than what Biden’s chosen running mate, Kamala Harris, has herself said, as well as numerous mainstream media outlets and countless criminal justice reform advocates have long maintained.
Troemel posted a 1994 photo of a smiling, mullet-sporting Biden standing next to then-President Bill Clinton. The photo contained this caption: “Find someone that looks at you the way Biden looked at Clinton after Clinton signed Biden’s crime bill into law. Bringing mass incarceration to black Americans.” This was the same photo and caption which an anonymous Trump supporter under the name “realtina40” first posted back in June.
Shortly after Troemel posted this on Sunday, Instagram appended a note in red letters, with a warning sign that read: “Learn why fact-checkers have indicated that this is false.” That was followed by a note plastered over Troemel’s original post with the title: “False,” and which claimed “independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact.” The same thing was done by Instagram to the original post from “realtina40” back in June.
Greenwald noted that another anti-Biden post from Troemel was flagged as well earlier this year after complaints were made by the Biden administration.
He further pointed out that Instagram was censoring Troemel’s post on the crime bill in spite of the fact that a number of high-profile Democrats had previously made very similar claims about Biden’s crime bill prior to him winning the Democratic presidential nomination without much of any pushback from fact-checkers, and certainly nothing in the way of censorship of their posts:
Instagram is Using False “Fact-Checking” to Protect Joe Biden’s Crime Record From Criticismshttps://t.co/l1yiShqWoJ
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 17, 2020
Look at what an absolute joke this Facebook/Instagram "fact-checking" is — to protect Biden.
On the left: Instagram denouncing a random user for "disinformation"
On the right: Cory Booker making the same point.
Pleading with Silicon Valley to regulate our discourse is lunacy: pic.twitter.com/IEnA7bip1R
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 17, 2020
Greenwald’s assertion about how we should not rely on Big Tech and the media to “regulate” and “fact check” our discourse is especially spot-on when you consider how incestuous the relationship between Silicon Valley, the mainstream media, and Democrats actually is. Via Brett at Twitchy:
As Twitchy just reported, USA Today has again run a “fact-check” on a piece from satire site The Babylon Bee. And as we noted in that post, USA Today discloses that its fact-checking is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
Facebook owns Instagram.
Along with that comes some of the hiring decisions Joe Biden has made in recent weeks, which includes some former big wigs from Facebook. Former Democratic operatives also sit in key positions at both Facebook and Twitter.
When one takes a look at the Instagram censorship incident and also how social media platforms worked to suppress the Hunter Biden story and other stories damaging to Democrats, one can further understand how the calls from Republicans to either reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act or repeal it have become more understandable – and imperative.