By Jayson Veley
Wouldn’t it be nice if independent bloggers and journalists could do their work without constantly being harassed by social media giants and federal departments claiming to be combating fake news? Perhaps one day this will become a reality, but not today.
Last month, Big Law Business reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now working to build a massive database on Internet journalists, editors, foreign correspondents and bloggers as a means of identifying what they consider to be top “media influences.” To do this, the DHS is seeking assistance from a contractor to help it monitor traditional news sources on social media and identify “any and all” news coverage relating to the department’s operations, according to a request for information that was officially released to the public on April 3 of this year.
Ultimately, the goal is to track over 290,000 global news sources, including everything from online content to print to radio, as well as several local, national and international publications that have a prominent presence online. Additionally, the DHS is looking to be able to track media information in a wide range of languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, and then instantly translate those sources to English.
“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” said the DHS in a statement, adding that the department has “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners.”
The move, which many people are concerned will infringe upon their First Amendment free speech rights, comes amid heightened fears that foreign nations are trying to interfere with U.S. elections by perpetuating “fake news” and deceptive information. However, as we have seen time and time again, “fake news” is often code for any content that does not explicitly conform with the liberal, social justice agenda, meaning that this stunt coming out of the Department of Homeland Security could very well be just another attack on conservatism. (Related: Anti-conservative censorship spreads from campuses to Google and other oppressive tech giants.)
The ground work has already been laid
It’s not exactly a secret that Facebook has committed itself to combating what it considers to be “fake news” – Mark Zuckerberg and other high-level employees have discussed it openly numerous times in the past. However, there is reason to believe that it’s not true fake news they are interested in censoring, but rather any sources that are even remotely conservative in nature, even if those conservative sources are completely factual.
In April, the Daily Caller reported Facebook wasn’t allowing users to share one of their stories that had been posted on the social media site on the basis that it could be a spam. “Our security systems have detected that a lot of people are posting the same content, which could mean that it’s spam,” read the Facebook message that was presented to users when they attempted to share the story. “Please try a different post.” (Related: Here is a full list of conservative news sites that have been banned by Google and Facebook.)
The only problem was that the story published by the Daily Caller was far from “spam,” nor was it “fake news.” Rather, the Daily Caller was reporting on the 300 “missing” text messages between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page that were handed over to congress back in April. This was a story that numerous media outlets reported on, and the idea that it was spam, fake news or anything of the sort is truly laughable. It serves as a great example of how Facebook, as well as many other social media giants and Internet-based companies, use the excuse of “combating fake news” when they’re really censoring conservative content.
Independent journalists and bloggers should be extremely concerned with what the Department of Homeland Security is doing. Their free speech rights are, without a doubt, in jeopardy. Read more at Technocrats.news.
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