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Facebook has forced one of its most powerful critics off the internet

It turns out the easiest way to avoid criticism is to completely silence the voices of those with a negative opinion.

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Image: KnowTechie

We’ve recently spoken about how Facebook has ignored blatant examples of political manipulation. We’ve also discussed how they’re planning to ban all political ads in the US. From November 3. After the polls have closed. Naturally. So it comes as little surprise that Facebook has now taken to forcing its political detractors offline. It turns out free speech is allowed and encouraged, as long as that free speech doesn’t criticize a multi-billion dollar corporation for its shady actions.

What’s going on?

Facebook announced over a year ago that they would be setting up an independent Oversight Board to tackle misinformation on the social media platform. However, their first meeting isn’t scheduled until late this October, and they won’t take any issues related to the current election into account.

In response to this relaxed approach to things, the Real Facebook Oversight Board was set up. Consisting of prominent academics, activists, lawyers, and journalists, their goal was to hold Facebook accountable for their inaction leading up to next month’s election.

But, as reported on VICE, Facebook didn’t like that. So their site was taken down last week after complaints that it was involved in ‘phishing.’

Normally you’d put this down to a simple mistake. A site with ‘Facebook’ in the address would obviously flag upon their algorithms. However, it’s not the first time this has happened. Another website set up by the same group – realfacebookoversight.com – was also taken down due to alleged copyright infringement.

It wasn’t me.

Obviously, Facebook has denied having any responsibility for this happening. After all the other stunts they’ve pulled recently, I imagine their spokesperson to be Bart Simpson saying, ‘I didn’t do it’ over and over again.

This time, their denial came in the form of telling VICE that “This website was automatically flagged by a vendor because it contained the word “Facebook” in the domain, and action was taken without consulting with us.” However, evidence has emerged that they did, in fact, make the initial complaint in the form of an email stating that the “notices of trademark abuse/trademark infringement were sent out in error.”

For an added layer of WTF, an actual Facebook spokesperson, Andy Stone, has tried to double down on the action taken, telling Cadwalladr on Twitter that “Your fake thing that accuses us of fake things was caught in our thing to prevent fake things.” It shows a completely uncaring approach from the social media giant, one which seems to be becoming more obvious as each scandal uncovers.

Speaking to VICE News, journalist and RFOB founder, Carole Cadwalladr, was extremely critical of Facebook’s actions. “The most extraordinary thing about this whole affair is how it’s exposed the total Trumpification of Facebook’s corporate comms,” she told them, before going on to say that “there is a brazen shamelessness at work here.”

If nothing else comes from all this, it seems there’s one very important lesson to be learned. It turns out the easiest way to avoid criticism is to silence the voices of those with a negative opinion completely.

Do you think Facebook is in the wrong/right here? Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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