Tell Mark Zuckerburg Not to Censor Facebook News -- Silencing Dissent is Dangerous

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Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Since the presidential election, there has been a push to have Facebook censor “fake news,” as forwarded by professor Mish Zimdars, who released a “fake news” list that featured “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources,” which the mainstream media ran with.

The problem is that only two of those modifiers suggest actual fake news — ”false” and “satirical.” The other two words are judgment calls that we make, ourselves, as informed readers. And while many people welcome the censoring of clearly fallacious new stories, lumping satire and false news in with ideologically based news is a dangerous precedent.

In a blog post, you noted, "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99 percent of what people see is authentic," and that "only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes." Yet, despite that admission, you announced a dangerous 7-point plan that could see legitimate independent news targeted by a partisan audience.

With that being the case, there is a clear and present danger of a censorship regime that will likely include legitimate, ideologically based, news content on Facebook — an extremely slippery slope to traverse once venturing down the path of stifling the free flow of information.

Many of the sites listed on Zimdars’ list, which was widely distributed across mainstream corporate media, are not “fake news,” but rather ideologically based sites that analyze facts through their unique lens.

These sites, such as Breitbart, Zero Hedge, The Other 98%, and The Free Thought Project, as well as numerous others, span the political spectrum from right to left, but the one common thread they all share is that they provide a perspective outside of the mainstream interpretation of actual events that have transpired.

What you are actually seeing transpire is a concerted effort by those in control of the media/state apparatus to regain control of the distribution of information shared within society, as the traditional gatekeepers of information have lost that control, due to social media, and can thus no longer control and shape the informational narrative as effectively.

One need only look to China’s policy of “Harmonizing” the Internet to understand where this type of activity ultimately leads is critical, as in 2004, when the Chinese Communist Party announced the goal of constructing a “Harmonious Society,” which underpins the Chinese government’s Internet censorship regime.

Mr. Zuckerberg, we implore you to not implement a Chinese-style censorship regime on Facebook and to allow the continued free flow of information that underpins the fabric of American democracy.

Please do not let your platform become the proxy for a state-sponsored censorship regime!

Signed,

The American People



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