Facebook imposed double standards to censor popular Russia-connected pages.
The US-based social media platform removed several pages managed by Maffick Media, a company partly owned by RT-subsidiary Ruptly, on the alleged basis that they were misleading their audience about their connections to Russia. The company’s CEO Anissa Naouai suggested that CNN was tipped off about this beforehand by a US government-funded think tank that helped coordinate this infowar operation, decrying what she described as a loophole that allows for state censorship. Facebook, for its part, claims that it’s trying to improve so-called “transparency” on its site by rolling out new standards behind the scenes that have yet to go live or be implemented in full.
In principle and provided that Facebook is telling the truth, the idea is sound enough, though only if it’s universally applied and done so without discriminating against anyone in particular like Maffick Media, which regrettably wasn’t the case in this instance. The US government seems to have been working indirectly through one of its many partially funded think tanks in order to coordinate this infowar operation while retaining so-called “plausible deniability” in the face of Anissa’s censorship claims. The selective enforcement of transparency standards speaks to the fact that the US wants to send an intimidating message to all Alternative Media outlets that they could be next.
That in and of itself is a dystopian thought to countenance, but the larger issue at play is the topic of “cyber sovereignty” and whether non-US-based users – including companies – have any universal rights on American platforms, which they seemingly do not. As disturbing as it may be, there’s practically nothing that anyone can do to ensure the fair and equal application of Facebook’s ever-changing rules (including secret ones that have yet to be publicly announced like the excuse that was used to censor Maffick’s pages), nor any recourse to rely upon whenever this doesn’t happen. Simply put, victims of injustice are literally out of luck.
Thankfully, however, Maffick isn’t just any random company but has created content that generated over 2,5 billion views and had tens of millions of subscribers. Furthermore, Anissa was able to utilize her professional contacts with RT to draw global attention to what happened, thereby putting pressure on Facebook to address the situation unlike how they might have otherwise ignored it had she not been able to successfully do this. No matter what ultimately happens and whether or not Facebook ever impartially imposes new so-called “transparency” standards all across the board including with regards to US government-linked entities, it nevertheless established a dark precedent by censoring Maffick Media.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review