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18 Feb, 2019 13:01

To 'save face' Facebook is poised to 'appease' critics like CNN over Russia stories – analyst to RT

To 'save face' Facebook is poised to 'appease' critics like CNN over Russia stories – analyst to RT

Facebook is under pressure by the US to hunt for supposed 'Russian influence' online, while the mainstream news outlets still continue to hype Moscow-related stories despite no evidence of collusion, an analyst has told RT.

Succumbing to pressure from politicians and the media, Facebook tries to "save face" by wanting to "to appease its loudest critics" like CNN, international law and human rights attorney Jennifer Breedon told RT. The social network has been getting a lot of flak for not doing enough to tackle the supposed 'Russian meddling' in US politics.

On Friday, without notice, Facebook took down several pages hosting video content. The action came right after CNN aired a report in which the pages were labelled "a growing brand of Russian-backed influence campaigns." The allegation was brought up because they were partially owned by Ruptly video agency – a subsidiary of RT – which is funded by Russia.

After taking down the pages, Facebook warned that they shouldn’t be misleading about "who’s behind them." Maffick Media denied ever trying to hide the links to Russia and pointed out that other public-funded media, like PBS, BBC and DW don’t get the same treatment.

The company slammed Facebook’s actions as "unprecedented censorship" and "new McCarthyism."

Launched back in 2017, the Robert Mueller probe failed to provide any "hard evidence" of the alleged collusion between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia, Jennifer Breedon pointed out.

"You have a lot of very embarrassed people [in] CNN and other mainstream media outlets," she said, noting that major news agencies never stopped hyping up the 'collusion' story despite the lack of proof.

CNN has touted the ‘Russia’ narrative from day one, just screaming 'Russia' on every chance they get. They want to find some sort of story there.

The attorney pointed out that the media eagerness to run with Russia-related stories finds fertile ground in Facebook’s strong desire to fend off criticism.

"Facebook seems to be making up rules as they go along," she stated. "It is trying to do this because they’ve been under scrutiny for how they allow things to run. It’s a very dangerous game to play. We want to ensure that we’re maintaining freedoms father than restrictions."

George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan Institute, told RT that the fear of government regulation contributes to Facebook’s willingness to constantly hunt down ‘Russian agents’ online. Facebook does it so the authorities don’t step in.

“The only way they can avoid coming under serious regulation is to do as they’re told. So every couple of weeks Facebook or Twitter are discovering yet more and more ‘Russian bots’, ‘Russian fake accounts’… just to keep politicians on Capitol Hill happy.”

This also prompts the social media network, as well as major US news outlets, to single out Russian-owned media, according to Szamuely. That is why English language media funded by other nations is rarely suspected of running “influence campaigns,” he said.

“Why doesn’t Facebook make the same demands to others and say the same things to the BBC? Why doesn’t it go to France 24 or Al Jazeera? They’re also government-funded.”

The goal is to simply “marginalize and exclude RT from the media flow,” Szamuely noted.

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