The Coming Censorship From the Left

News: US News
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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 17, 2017   

More than ever, Catholics are at the mercy of those controlling the organs of social communication

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After President Trump won the 2016 election, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, was hit with a wave of complaints from liberals claiming "fake news" on his social media platform had contributed to the Republican's victory. Zuckerberg responded by setting up a board to vet false reports — and stacked it with left-leaning media outfits: Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck.org, ABC News and Associated Press (which just issued writing guidelines discouraging use of the phrase "pro-life" in favor of "anti-abortion"). 

And in May, Zuckerberg placed New York Times veteran Alex Hardiman at the helm of Facebook's News products, in charge of overseeing monetization and collaboration with other news organizations. 

It's this same department that manipulated news content to artificially bump left-leaning causes while suppressing conservative stories. A 2016 report reveals that former Facebook staff admit they "routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's influential 'trending' news section."

 

Facebook news curators also claimed they were ordered to artificially inject topics into the trending section (e.g., Black Lives Matter), even when they weren't popular, while deleting articles related to the GOP. According to reporter Michael Nunez,

Facebook's news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing — but it is in stark contrast to the company's claims that the trending module simply lists "topics that have recently become popular on Facebook."

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that Facebook had been caught censoring conservative, pro-Israel posts while allowing liberal, pro-Palestinian content. 

Even more concerning, in 2015 Zuckerberg was caught agreeing to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's request to help get rid of anti-immigration posts on social media.

The conversation, caught on a hot mic, involved messages about the refugee crisis, with Zuckerberg admitting "we need to do some work" on the issue. 

"Are you working on this?" Merkel asked him.

"Yeah," Zuckerberg answered.

Shortly after, Facebook implemented its "Initiative for Civil Courage Online" to delete what it deemed "racist" or "xenophobic" comments. But Douglas Murray at the Gatestone Institute warned it was a tool for further censorship of legitimate conservative voices. 

"The sinister thing about what Facebook is doing is that it is now removing speech that presumably almost everybody might consider racist," said Murray, "along with speech that only someone at Facebook decides is 'racist.'"

Last year, WikiLeaks exposed an attempted meet-up between Zuckerberg and the Clinton campaign in order to give the entrepreneur advice on how to "move the needle on the specific public policy issues he cares most about." 

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Leaked email from Clinton campaign on Zuckerberg's foundation

Although Zuckerberg has never publicly identified as Republican or Democrat, and has contributed to candidates of both parties in the past, according to Federal Election Committee records, his political action committee made its biggest one-time donation to the Democratic Party in San Francisco in 2015 when it wrote a check for $10,000. He's also been open about his criticism of Trump and his immigration policies.

And it's not just Facebook. Other internet giants are also in on the conservative targeting: Google, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in June 2016 that Google was "directly engaged in Hillary Clinton's campaign."

"The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, set up a company to run the digital component of Hillary Clinton's campaign," Assange declared at a journalism forum in May 2016. A number of Google employees appear in the WikiLeaks Clinton email archives, noting a cozy relationship with the Democrat leader. Evidence shows the search engine skewed results for hits pertaining to Clinton's health back when it was a hot topic.

Google also had a close association with Obama: It was the single most frequent visitor to his White House, averaging one visit per week.

"Google controls 80 percent of the smartphone market through its control of Android," Assange noted, "and if you control the device itself — that people use to read — then anything that they connect to through that device you have control over as well."

The video hosting platform Vimeo is also targeting voices that don't fit the leftist narrative. Over the course of two years, it's deleted content and shut down accounts of ministries that help homosexuals leave the gay lifestyle.

In March, Vimeo deleted without warning 850 videos from Christian ex-homosexual David Kyle Foster's website. When Foster wrote to ask why, Vimeo responded, "To put it plainly, we don't believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don't allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view. ... We also consider this basic viewpoint to display a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow."

And last year, Vimeo took down the account of Restored Hope, a group of ministries that help rid individuals of unwanted same-sex desires. It also closed down the account of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, headed by the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a pioneer in reparative therapy.

Foster has called Vimeo's actions "pure religious bigotry and censorship."

Social media giant Twitter has displayed bias against the pro-life message, censoring ads critical of Planned Parenthood while giving the abortion giant free rein to spread its misinformation online. 

"Planned Parenthood is allowed to promote their pro-abortion and misleading messages, while Live Action is barred from promoting any content exposing abortion and Planned Parenthood," said Live Action CEO Lila Rose in June, after Twitter removed the pro-life group's ability to advertise. 

Contents of banned ads were benign, including a tweet that declared that Planned Parenthood is "about abortion, not women's health care," accompanied by a brief, all-text video casting doubt on the abortion conglomerate's "healthcare services." 

More than ever, conservatives are at the mercy of those controlling the organs of social communication, and must find a way to preserve their voice on the internet in the face of increasing encroachments. Church Militant relies heavily on various online platforms to publish and promote our content, and we recognize the growing threat of censorship from the powers that be, most who hate the message of the Catholic faith.

Just this past week, Church Militant was the target of hackers, who were able to take down the site for a full day. Although no internal information was compromised, our message — the message of Christ in His Church — was kept from being disseminated to the millions who regularly view our programming as well as to new viewers who need to hear the truth.

Church Militant has taken beginning steps to protect the apostolate and its content by purchasing our own internal server — but it comes at a cost — $50,000, to be precise. If you believe in the mission of Church Militant and want us to continue spreading the light of the Faith, reporting on issues that matter to Catholics, and being the voice for authentic reform in the Church, consider donating to our Preserving Catholics campaign to cover the cost of our server. We're grateful for any amount, large or small. We are especially grateful for your prayers in support of our work. 

 

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Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

Christine Niles is executive producer and editor-in-chief at ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @ChristineNiles1