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Facebook’s Secret Rulebook Against Free Speech

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Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg with guests of the "Tech for Good" Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 23, 2018. (Photo: Charles Platiau / Pool / AFP / Getty Images)
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg with guests of the ‘Tech for Good’ Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 23, 2018. (Photo: Charles Platiau/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook’s secret rule book is a 1,400 page document that is the byproduct of several dozen Facebook employees who gather every other Tuesday to brainstorm rules outlining acceptable speech. As the The New York Times recently reported, the employees brainstorm rules over acceptable speech and those guidelines are then sent out to over 7,500 moderators around the world.

However, as Clarion Project has also reported, many Facebook employees are young and often unable to find nuance in conversation.

As Jasmin Mujanovic, an expert on the Balkans, told The Daily Caller:

Facebook’s role has become so hegemonic, so monopolistic, that it has become a force unto itself. No one entity, especially not a for-profit venture like Facebook, should have that kind of power to influence public debate and policy.

Clarion Project’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi has also been at the forefront of this issue by raising critical questions on the alarming censorship reach of Silicon Valley, including:

  1. Are we now also directly overseen by corporations themselves, whose billionaire founders have created innovations that allow for policy to bypass government rule?
  2. Are the unelected leaders of billion-dollar tech industries in Silicon Valley now the very people that determine how societies are shaped?
  3. And if so, are we reaching a crisis point in human civilization where the widest censorship ability in human history is not at the hands of any fascist government, but those of a handful of tech overlords swayed not by the First Amendment, but by personal politics and profit?

The problem doesn’t stop with Facebook but is a larger question of what power Silicon Valley has in shaping dialogue.

Google has long had an issue with censorship within its organization, while also helping authoritarian foreign governments clamp down on free speech in their countries. Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company will take a moral stand against hate speech — but who decides what speech is acceptable? Our tech overlords?

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