How Facebook, Etc., Suppress Key Truths

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by Eric Zuesse, Strategic Culture:

On April 23rd, the great independent investigative journalist, Craig Murray — a former British diplomat — headlined at his blog, “Condemned By Their Own Words”, and he posted there the translated-to-English transcript (excerpted below) to this Israeli radio Hebrew broadcast on April 21st, in which an Israeli Brigadier-General, named Fogel, explained why Israel’s troops are doing the right thing to shoot and even to kill Gazans who come (an unspecified) too close to the wall which separates Israel from Gaza:

Any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order [the soldier thinks possibly] to hide an explosive device or [to] check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …

Nesiel [the interviewer]: Then, then his punishment [for being suspected] is death?

Fogel: His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …

Nesiel: But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger. … It does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.

Fogel: Look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it [at suppressing those pictures]. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. … It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF [Israel’s army]. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by [that Israel’s soldiers are jury, judge, and even executioner, when suspecting a Gazan — Gaza is Israel’s free-fire zone].

The interviewer didn’t challenge any of that, though he didn’t like “those pictures are distributed around the world” (except, perhaps, in U.S. and UK and some of Israel’s other allies — but Israel wants all nations to block the truth).

Murray closed by adding a very brief comment of his own: “There is no room to doubt the evil nature of the expansionist apartheid state that Israel has now become. Nor the moral vacuity of its apologists in the western media.” Since this was, of course, a damning statement about mainstream ‘news’ media in The West, these mainstream ‘news’ media, including Facebook, can be expected to dislike that — and they evidently do.

On April 25th Murray headlined “Blocked By Facebook and the Vulnerability of New Media”, and he reported:

This site’s visitor numbers are currently around one third normal levels, stuck at around 20,000 unique visitors per day. The cause is not hard to find. Normally over half of our visitors arrive via Facebook. These last few days, virtually nothing has come from Facebook:

What is especially pernicious is that Facebook deliberately imposes this censorship in a secretive way. The primary mechanism when a block is imposed by Facebook is that my posts to Facebook are simply not sent into the timelines of the large majority of people who are friends or who follow. I am left to believe the post has been shared with them, but in fact it has only been shown to a tiny number. Then, if you are one of the few recipients and do see the post and share it, it will show to you on your timeline as shared, but in fact the vast majority of your own friends will also not receive it. Facebook is not doing what it is telling you it is doing – it shows you it is shared – and Facebook is deliberately concealing that fact from you.

Twitter have a similar system known as “shadow banning”. Again it is secretive and the victim is not informed. I do not appear to be shadow banned at the moment, but there has been an extremely sharp drop – by a factor of ten – in the impressions my tweets are generating.

I am among those who argue that the strength of the state and corporate media is being increasingly and happily undermined by our ability to communicate via social media. But social media has developed in such a way that the channels of communication are dominated by corporations – Facebook, Twitter and Google – which can in effect turn off the traffic to a citizen journalism site in a second. The site is not taken down, and the determined person can still navigate directly to it, but the vast bulk of the traffic is cut off. What is more this is done secretly, without your being informed, and in a manner deliberately hard to detect. The ability to simply block the avenues by which people get to see dissenting opinions, is terrifying.

Furthermore neither Facebook nor Twitter contact you when they block traffic to your site to tell you this is happening, let alone tell you why, and let alone give you a chance to counter whatever argument they make. I do not know if I am blocked by Facebook as an alleged Russian bot, or for any other reason. I do know that it appears to have happened shortly after I published the transcript of the Israeli general discussing the procedures for shooting children.

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