The timing was suspicious. Facebook, the social networking giant that has attempted in vane to toe the line between being “woke” and staying out of the political discussion, deplatformed Trump confidant Roger Stone days before his sentence was commuted by the President. Most who were paying attention knew the President was going to do it based on his constant reminders in recent weeks that he disagreed with the sentencing and conviction of his long-time friend. Was it a coincidence that Facebook took Stone down on their platform just before the commutation?
Coincidence or not, Stone took to Parler today to express his extreme discontent for the site.
“Facebook deplatformed me based on a bogus report from the left-wing ‘research group’ ‘GRAPHIKA’.
“When it comes to truth or accuracy; Graphika’s report on my social media activities makes the Steele Dossier look like the Bible. I have never owned a ‘fake’ FB page in any other person’s name or in the name of a fictitious person. I have never owned/controlled a FB page for a political organization that was not genuine. Deplatforming real people who shared posts or posted messages in support of me is outrageous censorship. Who says that Graphika or Facebook gets to decide what is ‘true’ & what is ‘false’?
“I’ve certainly used my personal FB pages & my Instagram page to pushback against the totally false ‘Russian collusion’ narrative. This report is about 80% false, and the 20% that is accurate is misrepresented as somehow being nefarious or deceptive. I have no choice but to bring a lawsuit VS these hucksters who are the same conmen who formulated the phony ‘Russian-troll-farm’ narrative.”
It is not clear whether Stone intends to sue Facebook as well, but he certainly seems poised to sue Graphika, a social network analysis firm that tracks influence campaigns and ties together accounts, groups, and pages through their proprietary model. But the challenge they and similar companies face is distinguishing between inorganic networks controlled by single parties and organic networks of like-minded profiles, groups, and page owners.
Leftists reacted negatively to the news of Stone’s commutation, but this seems to be the only tangible blowback. If they can’t jail him, they’ll deplatform him and go after the President’s pardoning powers.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 12, 2020
According to BBC:
In total, those behind the pages spent about $308,000 on Facebook advertising.
Facebook said several of the inauthentic pages had links to Proud Boys, a white-supremacist hate group it had banned in 2018.
“Roger Stone’s personal accounts and his branded assets will be coming down as part of this network,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cyber-security policy. “We saw them deeply enmeshed in the activities here.”
Mr Stone told a New York Times reporter: “I have never owned or controlled any fake Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.”
Here’s the bigger challenge, and it’s a glaring one. Big Tech companies have been engaged in purging their platforms since the 2016 election. It cannot be a coincidence that the vast majority of those purged have been right-leaning people or organizations. These alleged social media promotion tactics are not isolated to conservative personalities. On a personal note, my time as an executive with a social media marketing company prior to the 2016 election was quite revealing. Of the political organizations and campaigns that inquired about questionable promotion techniques, a strong majority were left-leaning. It was significant enough for our CEO, a conservative, to consider dropping political campaigns altogether.
Deplatforming is a powerful tool for censorship and narrative suppression. We can expect more of this to happen over the next three months as Big Tech puts its fingers on the scales to help Democrats win elections.
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