What We Are Up Against -- FaceBook Honors Ruth Bader Ginsburg With Political Graphics

FILE- In this Aug. 6, 2015, file photo, a FaceBook elections sign stands in the media area in Cleveland, before the first Republican presidential debate. Facebook and other social platforms have been waging a fight against online misinformation and hate speech for two years. With the U.S. midterm elections coming soon on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, there are signs that they're making some headway, although they're still a long way from winning the war. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

 

It is one thing to commemorate an American figure, but what message is being sent with this imagery?

To say that the political left in this country has an unnatural attachment to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not exaggeration. For many from that faction, the late Supreme Court Justice was a deified entity. To get a feel of how important liberals regard the activist courts the adulation placed on a judge is almost unseemly. There have been countless books written on her including a raft of children’s tomes, as well as movies, clothing with her insignia, and even action figures produced.

So it is not with initial surprise to notice that on the social media titan FaceBook they would pay honor to the passing of this political star. She was a prominent name in their political orbit and undoubtedly her death of Friday sparked a tremendous amount of activity on the platform. So sure, it seemed in line that they might alter the corporate logo, much like is frequently seen at Google, to pay reverence to the former SCOTUS figure.

All fine, as far as it goes. Showing some respect in this manner is not a direct concern. But when going to the mobile application the image is paired with another graphic, and the message this conveys is a bit more direct in its intent.

It becomes rather difficult to see this as anything apart from politicizing the death of the Supreme Court Justice when viewed on the mobile platform. The revised logo now takes on an added message of significance. The hint that people should bear RBG in mind while voting could hardly be considered subtle. 

This is only another example of the ways the platforms can influence users. After the 2016 election, when all manner of foreign subterfuge was alluded, FaceBook, Google, and Twitter have taken various positions on content and how they police information. Under the guise of preventing false claims and other forms of disinformation, the platforms employ fact-checking standards and other methods to massage the flow of political discourse, whether from the users or the candidates themselves.

There have been a number of stories about messages from President Trump being flagged as inaccurate or being taken down entirely. Tellingly there have not been these same reports concern Joe Biden messages being given this same level of scrutiny. It is not for a lack of his delivering blatant misinformation in his speeches, but somehow these departures from verity by Biden are not being granted the same warning labels nor pull-down orders from the tech giants.

It remains the responsibility of the users to govern our intake of information and to seek out alternate outlets if needed. Voters are required to be vigilant in this environment.