Facebook: The global censor
29 December 2018
The year 2018 has seen a vast intensification of internet censorship by Google, Facebook and Twitter, transforming them from tools for exchanging information and communicating around the world into massive censorship dragnets for policing what their users say, do and think.
In August 2017, the World Socialist Web Site published an open letter to Google charging that the company, in collusion with the US government, was working to shape political discourse by manipulating search results. The open letter warned that Google’s actions set a dangerous precedent for subverting constitutional protections of freedom of speech and demanded that the company cease what the WSWS called “political blacklisting” of left-wing sites.
Sixteen months later, the central argument of the open letter—that Google and its peers are carrying out political censorship—is undeniable. The regime that Google pioneered through its search engine has been expanded to all major US social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In a front-page article published Friday, titled “How Facebook Controls What World Can Say,” the New York Times writes that Facebook’s actions “make the company a far more powerful arbiter of global speech than has been publicly recognized or acknowledged by the company itself.”
Facebook has “quietly become, with a speed that makes even employees uncomfortable, what is arguably one of the world’s most powerful political regulators,” the article states. “Increasingly,” the Times concludes, “the decisions on what posts should be barred amount to regulating political speech—and not just on the fringes.”
The transformation of Facebook into an instrument for political censorship was driven…