The Guardian's reporters were able to uncover this when they got their hands on a leaked copy of Facebook's updated moderation guidelines. The document laid out in detail the social media company's policies for dealing with content that their fact-checking team deems to be filled with misinformation.
The policy states that the platform will begin removing content that supposedly contains “unverified rumors” that can lead to violence, harm or election interference.
Facebook's fact-checking system relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and human moderators to flag down articles, videos and other content that needs fact-checking. The AI looks for signals, such as feedback from community members and a significant number of comments that are reacting in disbelief. Posts that get flagged by the AI get “soft demoted” on Facebook's feed for seven days, which means that the chances of showing up on a user's timeline are reduced by 50 percent. While content is on soft demotion, it is forwarded to Facebook's content moderation team, which manually goes through each report.
However, posts from the top 5,000 most popular websites in the world – including the New York Post – do not get automatically demoted. This means content from popular sites are supposed to have a high rate of distribution throughout the website. Still, moderators can manually override this guideline upon consultation with their team's leadership.
“In some cases, we manually enqueue content,” read the guidelines, “either with or without temporary demotion. We can do this on escalation and based on whether the content is eligible for fact-checking, related to an issue of importance and has an external signal of falsity.”
This means that the suppression of the story regarding the corruption within Joe Biden's family must have been handled manually by Facebook moderators. (Related: Senate report says Joe Biden allowed family members to enrich themselves in foreign deals while he was VP.)
“This story is eligible to be fact-checked by Facebook's third party fact checking partners,” said Facebook Director of Policy Communications Andy Stone after word got out that the social media website was censoring the New York Post's story. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform. This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact checker review.”
According to social media engagement experts, the censorship of the story was successful, as it was only able to reach about half the engagement a regular article from the New York Post would have gotten. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Senate Commerce Committee denying that his company censored the media outlet and its story regarding the Biden family.
Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, is warning America that Biden might win the election through cheating and rigging. He and many other militias are organizing an effort to protect America from election fraud.
Along with heavily censoring the New York Post's reach on Facebook, the social media company is also preparing a set of emergency policies known as “break glass measures” in preparation for the U.S. election and its aftermath.
These emergency policies give Facebook's moderators guidelines for exercising their power to censor political content tagged as “repeatedly fact-checked hoaxes,” or content that the site has deemed to be false. To be an RFH, the political content must meet the eligibility criteria of falsity, virality and severity.
This will allow Facebook to block “viral falsehoods” regarding the election even if it hasn't been vetted or debunked by the website's fact-checking department.
Learn more about how big tech and social media companies like Facebook are wielding their immense power in order to censor content they do not approve of by reading the latest articles at Censored.news.