Facebook Insider: Facebook ‘Deboosting’ Conservative Sites, More

By Rachel Alexander Published on March 6, 2019

Facebook and big tech censor conservatives. Everyone knows that. Now, a Facebook insider has left her employment with Facebook and shown Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe more evidence of bias against conservatives.

While at the company, the former content review analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, started noticing a technical action on the back end of conservative pages labeled “ActionDeboostLiveDistribution.” She saw it on pages for Mike Cernovich, Steven Crowder, and the Daily Caller. 

She believes the “deboost” code suppresses the distribution of livestream videos on Facebook. It not only limits their appearance in newsfeeds, but can remove sharing features and disable interactive notifications. The result is someone can create a video but hardly anyone will see it.

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The insider noticed that deboost coding associated with the back end of a Facebook page would include the name of a software engineer, Danny Ben-David. The deboost coding appeared after the word “Sigma.” An artificial intelligence system, Sigma blocks suicide and self-harm posts. The three pages mentioned above did not engage in those types of posts.

The insider checked out pages from Democrats and progressives, to see if they were also being deboosted. She could not find any.

Broadening the Definition of Hate Speech

The insider also took screenshots of commentary by Seiji Yamamoto. The data science manager defined hate speech broader than necessary.

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The insider came across the phrase “coordinated trolling,” explained in a troll report created in part by Yamamoto. She said it was aimed at the “right-wing, mean culture that’s become extremely prevalent in the last few years.” The purpose of the report seems to be to lump many on the right in with abusive trolling.

A classifier lists terms that predict if a user is a troll. Key words trolls allegedly use include “SJW” and “MSM.” The problem? Regular conservatives use these terms frequently. They’re not trolling words. In fact, liberals will refer to the mainstream media as “MSM.”

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Yanamoto’s glossary of these types of terms includes SJW and MSM. The insider observed to Project Veritas that Facebook is shifting the goal posts by including these terms associated with the right wing as hate speech. Yamamoto gives an example of this kind of speech by pointing to a relatively tame video by Lauren Chen called “Why Social Justice is Cancer.”

To combat trolls, he says, Facebook should introduce friction through the “Troll Twilight Zone.” That zone drastically limits bandwidth, auto-logouts, and magically fails to upload posts and comments. He says this feature will be triggered during the time leading up to important elections. Why? The insider says Facebook wants to influence elections. They can do that by making it hard for one side to speak.

Another feature of the Troll Twilight Zone notifies the friends of high-profile people who are suspended or deleted. That will scare other people from being “outed as a miscreant.”

Facebook assigns a “troll score” to accounts. One of the criteria for raising a person’s score is his being friends with already identified trolls.

Facebook Suppression

This wasn’t the first time Facebook had suppressed Crowder’s site. Crowder told Project Veritas they settled with Facebook out of court in 2016 over an incident.

Filmmaker Mike Cernovich expressed his concern that Facebook could make up allegations against someone it doesn’t like. That person wouldn’t be able to do anything about the allegation, and might not even know about it.

The insider was fired shortly after she began communicating with Project Veritas. She was not told why. She notes that the timing also occurred two days after a report came out about Twitter censoring conservatives. The insider thinks the reason they would not tell her why she was fired is because this is something they do not want the public knowing about.

O’Keefe says Project Veritas intends to expose more activity like this by relying on informants and leakers.

For exhibits and screenshots from Project Veritas regarding this expose, click here.

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.

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