Facebook: Hey, sorry for making those PragerU videos disappear

Friday morning Prager U put up a tweet saying that their content was being heavily censored on Facebook. “Our last 9 posts are reaching 0 of our 3 million followers,” the tweet claimed. It was accompanied by a screenshot which seemed to show that recent messages were getting zero engagement. In addition, two specific videos had also been deleted entirely.

Friday eveneing, Facebook responded on Twitter to say that it had made a mistake and would restore the videos and “reverse any reduction in content distribution you’ve experienced.”

The people running the PragerU account don’t buy that this was a mistake.

Of course, Facebook is a private company so First Amendment protections don’t apply. You don’t have a civil right to get views on Facebook. That said I don’t believe for a minute that Facebook is confused about what happened here. My best guess is that a bunch of progressive trolls reported the videos and they were pulled down by an algorithm. Eventually, a real person looked at the situation and realized the complaints were nonsense. So why not just admit that’s what happened? Why do we have to play this game where they are continuing to look into it?

If I had to guess why Facebook isn’t just coming clean here, it’s that they don’t want to encourage 10,000 more trolls to use the same tactics, creating a big mess for the company to clean up and a PR nightmare.

Still, it would be great if Facebook had a bit more robust system for dealing with this problem. Far left trolls who equate speech with violence are willing to abuse whatever feedback system you create to shut down content they disagree with. It’s social media’s variation on the heckler’s veto. So be aware of that and work around it. This really isn’t rocket science.

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