As I posted a little earlier today, Twitter carried out a purge of sorts of various sites labeled “alt right” –“alt right” is increasingly a codeword for any opinion anyone dislikes. My colleague Patterico has posted on an article in the Los Angeles Times than labels RedState and The Blaze as “fake news” sites.
The Clinton campaign’s chief digital strategist on Monday blamed Facebook for enabling the spread of misinformation about the Democratic nominee — and said Democrats in and out of government have been looking at how to tackle the “big problem” of fake news on the social network.
“Everyone has the right to say what they want, have access to sites that they want, share what they want,” Teddy Goff told POLITICO. “But a publisher with a record of making stuff up is not likely to rank that highly on Google, and the equivalent ought to be the case on Facebook.”
Critics on the left say false headlines on Facebook harmed Hillary Clinton and helped swing the election to Donald Trump. One fake news story titled “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead” from sources like The Denver Guardian, The Free Patriot and Red Flag News circulated on the social network prior to the election. Another, under the headline “Michelle Obama Deletes Hillary Clinton From Twitter,” was picked up by conservative radio host Sean Hannity, who later apologized for spreading the lie.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed as “pretty crazy” the idea that the distribution of fake and misleading news items on the site could have influenced the 2016 presidential election.
The more this guy Goff talks, the more interesting it gets:
But Goff, who also served as digital director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, said fake news on Facebook painting Clinton as corrupt, criminal or otherwise beyond the political pale did have an impact — and he said Democrats, even before the election was over, started looking at how to address it.
But Facebook, he argues, is a particularly dangerous combination.
The site, he says, serves to gin up outrage but then fails to give users anything productive to do with their ire, contributing to a mentality that was particularly damaging to Clinton.
“We spend all day, every day on these platforms that encourage us to get pissed off, to piss off each other, to share information that’s alarming,” said Goff. “So you have rising despair and also a rising sense of helplessness, and that combination is extremely toxic, and contributes in a huge way to this ‘throw the bums out’ mentality.”
What Goff is saying is that he views any news on the Clinton Foundation or Clinton’s email saga to be “fake news” that should be banned from Facebook. And this may be a news flash to him, throwing the bums out is an American pastime.
Being ever the dutiful soldiers of the left, Facebook and Google are toeing the line. Right now they allege they will not discriminate on content but merely ban “fake news” sites from their advertising networks. But after watching Facebook’s transparent effort to stack “important” news with stories pushing the left’s agenda there should be damned little doubt where this particular train is headed.
The real agenda is clear. Across the board the Democrats are blaming the free flow of information, much of it not helpful to Hillary Clinton, for Donald Trump’s election. They are indiscriminately bundling obviously bogus news sources with outlets that oppose them politically. They want to return the days of the “Fairness Doctrine,” a handful of tightly regulated television networks, and a compliant cabal of newspaper editors. This is not new; it is merely an extension of the Federal Election Commission’s attempt in 2014 to regulate political speech on the internet.
Don’t dismiss this gathering threat. It is real and unless something drastic changes, Twitter and Facebook are going to be off limits to conservative news and opinions.