In the latest moves by liberals and the middle-class left to curb free speech in the name of “political correctness,” Facebook bosses announced May 2 they are permanently banning “dangerous individuals and organizations” from their social media sites, including Instagram. This came after mounting pressure demanding greater censorship of internet platforms, as capitalist publishers and editors do for the rulers in other bourgeois media.
While Facebook claimed their censorship isn’t political, those targeted were all on the political right, ranging from Alex Jones, a talk show host who peddles conspiracy hoaxes on his website Infowars; to Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam, known for his anti-Semitic diatribes; and numerous others.
Previously, on April 18, the posts of a series of British ultranationalist organizations and leaders were blocked. Facebook banned any “praise, support and representation” of anything it deem to be “white supremacism.”
Mark Zuckerberg, both chairman and CEO of Facebook with a reported net worth of over $70 billion, and a liberal himself, says he’s devoting 2019 to “making progress on the major social issues.” He’s trying to recover from two years of criticism for violating the privacy of Facebook’s users by letting the social media operation be used by fake websites that supposedly cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election.
All capitalist media make side profits by selling their subscribers’ information to greedy advertisers while all social media sites additionally use their algorithms to help target users, pushing them endlessly to buy, buy, buy.
Zuckerberg faces relentless pressure by groups who don’t consider him sufficiently “politically correct.” Groups like Color of Change say he has too much power, and the fact that he controls 57% of the votes on the board “is a threat to the civil rights of its Black users and to the financial interests of its shareholders.”
Censorship is their answer
Zuckerberg and Facebook’s other owners said May 2 they would target all persons and groups that their algorithmic software pinpoints as promoting or engaging in “violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
This puts them squarely in the camp of the Democratic Party “resistance” to the presidency of Donald Trump. All these forces believe the central problem is the “deplorable” working class who either voted for Trump or simply refused to vote for Clinton. They’re all for whatever can be done to restrict their right to vote and other political rights.
In December 2015, it was only revealed 10 months later, debate erupted inside Facebook as liberal supporters of the Clinton campaign tried to have posts by her rival, Donald Trump, deleted as “hate speech.” Zuckerberg said no, it was too big a step to block a presidential candidate’s posts.
Such social media restrictions are part of what’s happening in current bourgeois politics — to bring in laws, not against criminal actions, but against ideas labeled as “hate speech.”
This mirrors the widespread campaign by middle-class liberals and radicals to demand colleges, high schools and other academic institutions ban speakers whose ideas they don’t like. Or to use their own thuggish methods to shout down, or physically shut down, any ideas they feel are “offensive.”
Facebook’s censorship today meets with approval and cries for more from the left. But steps like these always end up being used against the working class and the communist movement.
The rulers are only too happy to shut down the space working people need for political discussions as we fight to find an independent working-class political road forward. Only in this way can we advance along the road of building a mighty proletarian movement capable of transforming society — and ourselves.