Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists he is not using his company to censor, champions free speech, and vows the social network only removes “harmful” and “dangerous” users and content from its platform.
Facebook, which has banned top conservative journalists and purged and shadowbanned hundreds of media outlets, is facing a new legal conundrum after proving once again the monopolistic tech giant works as an arm of the Democrat party.
Quinnipiac University law school student, Cameron Atkinson, filed a lawsuit against Facebook on Tuesday after verifying the company removed posts from its news feed naming “the alleged Ukraine whistleblower,” whose allegations ignited the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
Atkinson set out to confirm whether Facebook was censoring posts that mention the name of the individual purported to be the whistleblower by conservative media, and as he suspected, Facebook is violating the First Amendment to assure the public is left in the dark about the whistleblower.
To evaluate the extent of Facebook’s anti-Trump bias and interference of free speech, Atkinson published two posts mentioning the whistleblower’s full name. In one post he referred to the CIA officer, who filed a whistleblower complaint against President Trump, by his full name – Eric Ciaramella – and called him a “hero.” In a second post, Atkinson again mentioned Ciaramella’s full name and characterized him as a “dirty lying rat.”
Facebook removed both of his posts from his timeline, providing no detail explaining why the posts were removed and no notification that they were taken down.
Atkinson then published a third post, claiming he had mixed feelings about the whistleblower.
“Tattling in the dark shadows destroys public confidence in a matter of serious public interest. On the other hand, the vitriolic nature of our society may very well raise concerns for his safety,” he wrote.
Facebook also removed this post, demonstrating the powerful tech giant’s effort to suppress the truth about the impeachment inquiry.
In his lawsuit, Atkinson warns of Facebook’s arbitrary and politically biased enforcement of its so-called community standards and demands punitive damages that will compel Facebook to abandon it’s anti-American censorship.
“The process of removing user posts is totally opaque,” he argues. “The manner in which posts are flagged as community standards violations is unknown, and the extent to which computer algorithms or humans decide which content is objectionable remains unknown.”
Facebook’s ability to reap billions in revenue from its users while being exempt from prosecution of illegal activity is egregious, Norm Pattis, the attorney representing Atkinson contends.
“Facebook operates under a federal grant of immunity and makes enormous profits. That privilege comes with responsibility to serve the public,” he argued. “Its censorship policies are incoherent. It should be held to First Amendment standards.”
Facebook justified its policing of speech in the lawsuit by detailing its ambiguous community standards.
“We distinguish between public and private individuals because we want to allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience,” the company states in the lawsuit. “For public figures, we remove attacks that are severe as well as certain attacks where the public figure is directly tagged in the post.”
A Facebook spokesman confirmed Tuesday the tech giant will remove all posts mentioning Ciaramella because posts mentioning the man at the center of the impeachment proceeding are “harmful.”
“Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist,’” Facebook said. “We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.”
Left-leaning media organizations are withholding the name of the whistleblower in their coverage of the impeachment inquiry. Yet, the whistleblower’s name has been published by numerous conservative sites, while President Trump, Republican lawmakers, and conservative activists insist he should be publicly identified and testify as part of the impeachment hearings.
“I think Eric Ciaramella needs to be pulled in for testimony, and then I think it will be ultimately determined at that point,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul argued Tuesday on WMAL . “But I think he is a person of interest in the sense that he was at the Ukraine desk when Joe Biden was there when Hunter Biden was working for the Ukrainian oligarch. So simply for that alone, I think he’s a material witness who needs to be brought in.”
Our very own Laura Loomer is also waging a major legal battle against Facebook, after Zuckerberg’s company banned and demonized her and conservative firebrands Paul Joseph Watson, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Gavin McInnes as “dangerous individuals trafficking in hate” last May.
In an effort to dismiss the $3 billion defamation lawsuit waged by Loomer, Facebook argued in court filings in September that the company is a “publisher,” after previously insisting it is a “platform”.
Zuckerberg has argued, under oath in congressional testimony, that his tech company is a “platform” and is therefore exempt from prosecution of illegal activity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Tech “platforms” are not liable for content created by its user under the law, while “publishers” are in prosecutorial jeopardy if their writers defame someone. Facebook’s admission of being a publisher amid the legal battle may nullify its Section 230 protections.
Facebook is currently immune from violating the First Amendment, yet the company simultaneously argues in court filings it has a First Amendment right to defame people as “dangerous individuals,” Loomer lamented in an interview with Infowars following Facebook’s groundbreaking admission.
“According to their own classification of a dangerous individual, it’s somebody who is a terrorist, a serial killer or somebody who commits mass murder. I have done any of those things,” she said. “What does that mean for people like me and Alex Jones and other conservatives in this country who are being deplatformed, banned and then branded by this company as dangerous individuals?”
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