Politician Feels Facebook Blocked His Right-Wing Views
A Republican candidate for Texas attorney general says Facebook froze his account and deleted a video announcing his candidacy without explanation - but he speculates that it was due to a violation of Facebook community standards, namely the prohibition of hate speech based regarding sexual orientation.
State Rep. Dan Branch was temporarily blocked from posting on his official Facebook page and had his video removed. He told The Blaze this was because Facebook targets conservatives.
"[We] suspect that... someone considered [his video] hate speech and it was brought down... all signs point to that and Facebook isn't giving us any answers," said Branch's campaign manager Enrique Marquez.
According to Marquez, the campaign believes the video was flagged because Branch vowed to fight for the state's "right to define a marriage as between one man and one woman."
Conservative Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who was also temporarily banned from Facebook, claims he was targeted as well. Fox News.com reports the "host said it was disturbing the social networking site would target a group of conservative patriotic Americans - especially since they allow incredibly obscene Facebook pages to exist."
"I'm about as politically incorrect as you can get," Starnes wrote on his Facebook page. "I'm wearing an NRA ball cap, eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich, reading a Paula Deen cookbook and sipping a 20-ounce sweet tea while sitting in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair with the Gather Vocal Band singing 'Jesus Saves' on the stereo and a Gideon's Bible in my pocket. Yes sir, I'm politically incorrect and happy as a june bug."
Starnes said the comment was deleted and he was blocked from posting on Facebook for 12 hours. He received a message that his comment violated Facebook's community standards.
"We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards," he reports the message said. "So you're temporarily blocked from using this feature.
"I suspect had I been reading Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals, wearing a Planned Parenthood ball cap, smoking a joint, and sporting butt-less leather chaps," Starnes went on, "Facebook would’ve left me alone."
"It’s really sad that Facebook objects to people who share traditional American values," Starnes added. "And quite frankly, any community that doesn’t allow sweet tea and the Bible violates my personal standards."
The truth is Facebook relies on users to flag inappropriate materials. When something is flagged it is then sent to a moderator at an outsourcing company, such as oDesk in Morocco, reports the Telegraph.
There are many of these outsourcing companies around the world in places such as Asia, Africa and Central America, and moderators are paid $1 an hour. The British news outlet interviewed a man who spent three weeks monitoring content for Facebook, that was all he could handle.
"It must be the worst salary paid by Facebook," Amine Derkaoui told The Daily Telegraph. He added, "All the ---- of the world flows towards you and you have to clean it up."
After a moderator views something that is reported, they have three options: To delete it, to ignore it, or to escalate it. The latter refers the material to an employ in California that can contact the proper authorities.
The fact that the comments of Branch and Starnes were flagged shows that, in spite of their popularity among conservatives, these men have their detractors. But according to the judgement of outsourced employees, what these men said is not hate speech. And contrary to the conservatives assumption, it is not against Facebook’s policy to express divergent political belief.
"As our team processes more than 1 million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake," Facebook said in a statement to Branch. "We worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content, and we have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future."