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Monday, July 15, 2024

Altered Algorithms  – Jewish Voice Being Silenced Through Shadow Banning

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In new memos recently released by Facebook, the social media giant was pressured by the Biden White House into altering its algorithms so that mainstream news sources would be elevated over conservative sites, as was reported by Eric Lendrum of the American Greatness web site.

Lendrum writes: “As Just The News reports, the documents over to the House Judiciary Committee following a subpoena detail a series of meetings between Facebook executives and White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty in the spring of 2021. The demands from the White House focused on posts related to the Chinese coronavirus and the efficiency of the COVID vaccines.

In one meeting on April 14th, 2021, Flaherty asked Facebook if it was possible to artificially promote outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, instead the Daily Wire and Fox News, particularly commentator Tomi Lahren.

“If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see NYT, WSJ, any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people,” Flaherty asked. “You wouldn’t have a mechanism to check the material impact?”

“We have to explain to President, Ron [Klain], people, why there is misinfo on the internet, bigger problem than FB,” said Flaherty, according to the typed notes from Facebook executives. “Where issues are, what interventions are, how well they are working, for products, want to engage in things that you know to be effective. I don’t even care about specific methodology, you have better, richer data than we’ll ever have.”

It appears that even an outlet like The Jewish Voice is not immune to the changes at Facebook and the censorship of conservatives. Our Facebook page used to receive close to 1000 new followers and likes every few days. This number has dropped drastically to almost none, the last couple of months

The Jewish Voice has been targeted for shadow banning for close to a decade. Why this is is not certain, but one could venture a guess that because the powers that be in the world of cyber space don’t consider our news portal to be part of the mainstream news media, that we have been the unwilling victim of shadow banning.

As a writer for The Jewish Voice, I follow us on Facebook. We update our Facebook constantly, yet The Jewish Voice rarely shows up on my Facebook newsfeed. When I re-post stories that I wrote for the paper, my friends and followers are rarely seeing the content from The Jewish Voice on their news-feed. Is the Facebook algorithm blocking The Jewish Voice? One, can reasonable conclude this.

The Jewish Voice Facebook page used to get hundreds of responses to our posts in addition to all the likes. Since Facebook has made these changes, The Jewish Voice is maybe getting 10 engagements, and that is one of the better numbers.

Jewish Voice publisher, David Ben Hooren said, “For several years now, the Jewish Voice has been targeted by an insidious shadow banning campaign that was orchestrated by Facebook and Twitter and frankly, this is totally outrageous and unacceptable. We are a conventional news site that delivers an even-handed account of the news, so there is no reason that we should be silenced.”

He added that “Our followers are being blocked on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This means that new followers cannot join and our numbers are completely stagnant because of the manipulation of the algorithms that essentially control the expression of free speech and thought in this country. Whether one wants to refer to it as “The Deep State” or those in charge of the “woke, progressive” revolution, the results are the same.The Jewish Voice and others like us are being censored and we will continue to speak out about this until justice is served and this situation is completely rectified.”

Remember Zuckerberg mentioned “broadly trusted” news sources when he announced the “improvements” to Facebook years ago. Maybe The Jewish Voice is not “trusted enough” to their standards or maybe there is some agenda at work.

Zuckerberg promised Facebook would begin to prioritize “trustworthy” news outlets on its stream of social media posts as it works to combat “sensationalism” and “misinformation”. Now who will be the arbiter that decides what a trustworthy news source is? A left leaning shadowy “fact check” website called Snopes, naturally!

“Never-before-released internal documents subpoenaed by the Judiciary Committee PROVE that Facebook and Instagram censored posts and changed their content moderation policies because of unconstitutional pressure from the Biden White House,” said Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, on Twitter, as was reported by Lendrum at American Greatness.

Constitutional scholars have also raised the alarm over the revelations, with George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley saying that he has “asked Congress to pass a law barring federal employees from engaging in censorship and targeting of citizens.”

“Agencies have a right to speak in their own voices,” Turley added. “Instead, the Biden Administration sought to engage in what I have called ‘censorship through surrogate.’ This is part of that pattern.”

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