Banning users & throttling posts: Facebook leans on NATO think tank to ‘sort out the Russian bots’

Under tremendous pressure from politicians and mainstream media, Facebook and other social networks have turned to purging content, viewpoints and even users that the powers-that-be have declared objectionable.

Still angry over the 2016 US presidential election, Democrats blame social media for giving President Donald Trump and his supporters a voice and claim the likes of Facebook and Twitter have served as platforms for “Russians” to “influence” US public opinion – against Hillary Clinton, that is.

Repeatedly told to sort out the “Russians,” Facebook, Twitter and Google have turned to throttling posts, suspending and even banning some users. First it was the “suspected Russian” accounts, based among other things on whether they were posting in Cyrillic. Then they demonetized, throttled and flagged accounts of Trump supporters such as Diamond and Silk. Last week, Facebook, Google, Spotify and several other platforms deleted the accounts of Alex Jones and InfoWars. Who is next?

“If people flag them as potential hoaxes, we send those to fact-checkers. And if those fact-checkers say that it is probably false, then we will significantly reduce the distribution of that content,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Recode, which advocated simply kicking such people off the platform.

So who are the fact-checkers? Facebook has partnered with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-backed think tank, to assist the social network in policing news, views and ideas.

While many Democrats still think more should be done, Senate Intelligence Committee chair  Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has praised social media for their “willingness to collaborate” with the government.

Freedom of speech? How quaint. RT’s Ilya Petrenko has the story.

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