Facebook, You Stupid F*ckup. (This Is A Clickbait Headline.)
How about some tech news from the very good company called Facebook? OK!
1. This happened:
Golly, that sounds like a dumb decision made by a likely overpaid dumb person. Of course, it's not an isolated event, and if you're interested in diving deep, Radiolab did an an entire episode on how shitty of a job Facebook does moderating hate speech.
2. Meanwhile, NBC News is out with a long report today on how Facebook has powered the rise of the Epoch Times, a bizarre pro-Trump QAnon-supporting Falun Gong-linked Chinese-American propaganda website beloved of Devin Nunes. You should read the whole thing, but here is a snippet of what the Epoch Times is like:
While The Epoch Times usually straddles the line between an ultraconservative news outlet and a conspiracy warehouse, some popular online shows created by Epoch Times employees and produced by [New Tang Dynasty] cross the line completely, and spread far and wide.
One such show is "Edge of Wonder," a verified YouTube channel that releases new NTD-produced videos twice every week and now has more than 33 million views. In addition to claims that alien abductions are real and the drug epidemic was engineered by the "deep state," the channel pushes the QAnon conspiracy theory, which falsely posits that the same "Spygate" cabal is a front for a global pedophile ring being taken down by Trump.
Facebook allows this shit to spread everywhere. Indeed, as NBC News's Ben Collins reports, it's the "largest pro-Trump spender on Facebook." But hey, it's all kosher, because Epoch Times is bribing Facebook with millions of dollars of ad buys.
3. Here's a thing! Facebook is literally paying former GOP Senator Jon Kyl "to study bias against conservatives on Facebook." You know, the guy who was the "sherpa" for the confirmation of accused sexual predator and suspected "boofer" Bart O'Kavanaugh, AKA the dumbest and most obnoxious shitwad ever to leave skid marks all over the Supreme Court. (We do not know if he leaves literal skid marks on the Supreme Court, though his judicial opinions qualify as such. We note this because Wonkette strives for accuracy at all times. This will become important in a moment.)
Here is John Kyl's preliminary report on "bias." If you read it, you'll find that it actually has no findings and no conclusions, just a lot of conservatives bitching and moaning about how they are just pretty sure Facebook is doing the literal Holocaust to their racist memes and misSPELed aLL CaPs WHiniNG.
In other words, it found no so-called bias against conservatives.
4. This is all happening against the backdrop of Donald Trump reportedly putting together an executive order to combat the imaginary bias against conservatives on Facebook and other media platforms. As Media Matters notes, this is batshit:
The order is just the next step in the yearslong self-victimizing crusade in which Trump, his campaign, right-wing media figures, and Republican lawmakers have been pushing baseless claims of tech censorship to "work the refs." And while hard evidence of actual bias against conservatives has still not been presented (even Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas acknowledged it is anecdotal), tech companies have nevertheless shown a pattern of caving to the pressure in efforts to appease conservatives.
Media Matters continues with a timeline of all the events that have led to this moment. You should bookmark it.
Hey, remember that "social media summit" a couple months back when Donald Trump invited all his favorite white supremacists and propagandists and incels to the White House so he could bellyache about his Twitter follower count before a live studio audience? This executive order is the next step in that.
5. SOME PERSONAL NEWS! Wonkette, yes Wonkette, is currently on a two-week Facebook suspension of sorts. Our Facebook page is still there and active, but we have apparently committed the sin of "clickbait," and therefore they have told us out loud that they are going to suppress our posts from the 100,000 people who have freely chosen to like our page. (Like many news websites, our Facebook reach had already gone to shit anyway, partially as a result of Facebook's bad algorithms and bad policies and bad employees and bad CEO and bad COO, and partially because it's largely become a place for right-wing Nanas to post memes about Jesus and QAnon and spam about whatever Angry Bird Casino Farmtown games they're playing, which has led many of the most engaged news readers to tell the platform to fuck off.)
They warned us, BUT YET WE PERSISTED.
In their warning, they cited these two posts:
The first headline is literally true. Beto O'Rourke did indeed say "what the fuck" and "Jesus Christ" and "of course he's a racist" about Donald Trump after the El Paso white supremacist terrorist massacre. The only factcheck we can see is that we guess we are not literally "all" Beto O'Rourke saying that. We apologize to any Facebook readers who saw that post and fell under the delusion that they were literally Beto O'Rourke.
Nana, you are NOT Beto O'Rourke. Go back to using Facebook Messenger to send your life savings to your online Nigerian prince lover, Nana. Everything is fine, Nana. RELAX.
As for the second post, it's true that House Republicans are not "all" quitting Congress right now, but the headline was a reflection of the fact that they are dropping like flies ahead of the 2020 election. (Oh shit, sorry, Facebook, they are not literally "dropping like flies." Nobody is doing fly swatters to them!) It is also not true that the Dems are in disarray. That is what's known as a long-running joke.
Wonkette does jokes. Perhaps Facebook should search the Google for Wonkette to find out what it is, as it's been around since 2004, which is (FACTCHECK CLICKBAIT) before most of Facebook's unfucked anti-social nerd employees' balls dropped.
Wonkette also does news, and a damn good job of it. We encourage every person who reads us to fact-check us if you think we got it wrong -- or just to make sure we're right! -- because we work really hard to make sure that, whether or not you like our slant or our values or our dick jokes (don't give a fuck about that), that the underlying facts and analysis we give you are correct. And when it's not, we strive to fix it.
Does Wonkette do clickbait? Eh ... kinda. We aim for funny and/or pithy and/or ridiculous and/or pissed off with our headlines, depending on what the story is, and if they BAIT you to CLICK on them, then mission fuckin' accomplished, we guess. What we don't do is headlines that are outright false. If you click on a Wonkette article, the headline -- even if it's exaggerated for comedic effect -- tends to give you a pretty good idea of what you're getting. We're aware that Facebook has guidelines for clickbait, like they're the fuckin' ombudsman of the entire universe. (Amusingly, one of the complaints in Jon Kyl's Imaginary Rainbow Blowjob Conservative Bias Facebook Discrimination report is that the site's clickbait policies are "too opaque.")
We're also aware that Facebook is notoriously shitty at enforcing its own rules, and that its hands are filthy when it comes to the platform's role in the spread of literal fake news and Russian propaganda and everything else. The problem here is that Facebook is actively choosing not to discern the difference between that shit and a funny, smart, mean-as-a-snake liberal website that reports the news with a healthy serving of COCK DICK MOTHERFUCKER cusses.
We tell you all this not to whine, because whining is always a bad look. It's more that this happening to Wonkette's Facebook page at the same time all these other things are happening was just a little bit too adorable to pass us by without eliciting this comment. We don't think Facebook is going to see this post and come to Jesus and stop hurting America. And if Facebook thinks Wonkette is going to change one goddamn thing to be "better" at abiding by its dumbfuck guidelines, in hopes that their royal highnesses may smile upon us and choose to share our content with the 100,000 Facebook users who have already specifically asked to see it, then hahahahaha EAT OUR ASS.
We'll be fine. And if you love Wonkette and what we do, we encourage you to click the buttons below to support us financially, because we are a small mom-and-pop outfit of WARBLOGGERS, we're entirely supported by readers, we don't take advertising, and we certainly don't have millions of dollars to bribe Facebook to share Chinese QAnon Falun Gong propaganda with unwitting morons.
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