Facebook has deleted 559 pages and 251 accounts that it accuses of political misinformation and violating its policies on spam and profit. Many of these were conservative or libertarian pages, some with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, though a few were also liberal.
The company claimed that the pages were removed for violating their policies against fake accounts, spamming content, and renting to others. However, the move is suspect for both its timing – coming only a few weeks before the important midterm elections – and some of its aspects, such as targeting pages which shared articles from the conservative outlet LifeZette, or which merely coordinated their activities.
Conservatives have been quick to point out that such action borders on election interference, ironically as Facebook remains under pressure from the far left over its supposed role in Russian interference in 2016. The social media giant has become notorious for its anti-right wing bias, recently leading Brian Amerige, a senior employee, to quit, expressing that he was morally uncomfortable with remaining there in light of its policies.
During the 2016 election, it was revealed that Facebook’s news curation team routinely suppressed conservative topics and sites, and elevated leftist ones, as well as suppressing news about the company itself.
Along with Google and other Silicon Valley tech and social media giants, Facebook has been steadily proceeding down a precipitous path of gatekeeping, censorship, and bias, threatening the integrity of democratic processes, the availability of vital information, and the intrinsic civil rights of American citizens. This new attempt at election interference should awaken and galvanize the political right to take action to liberalize the public space that Facebook and others dangerously curate.