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Facebook employees quit over new censorship tool

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zuckerberg is taking extreme measures to get his social media site into China. (Photo via AP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zuckerberg is taking extreme measures to get his social media site into China. (Photo via AP)

Facebook is walking a dangerous path in the war against free speech in favor of censorship, and according to the New York Times, some of its employees have had enough.

According to three current and former Facebook employees, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making a special effort to get the social media website into China by cultivating relationships with China’s leaders, like President Xi Jinping, learning Mandarin, and quietly developing a software tool that could lead to more censorship. The employees who spoke to the New York Times requested anonymity because the software tool is confidential.

The social media website has a track record for censoring content in foreign countries, conservative news, and, now, fake news, but apparently this new software tool is so controversial it’s caused several employees to quit.

While Facebook won’t suppress posts itself, they’ll offer the tool to a third party (i.e. a partner Chinese company) to “monitor popular stories and topics that bubble up as users share them across the social network.” It would then give the partner company “full control to decide whether those posts should show up in users’ feeds.”

And even though there is no indication that Facebook has offered the software tool to the authorities in China and that it has not yet been used, it’s a huge compromise to the social media site’s mission “to make the world more open and connected.”

Either way, Facebook is walking a slippery slope as they try to ban fake news in addition to allowing third parties to censor content to users and act as a propaganda arm to governments around the world (including the U.S.).

It’s time for Facebook to stick to their mission, keep governments out of their business, and let individual users determine how they want to aggregate content.


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