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Don't Be Distracted by the Facebook 'Whistleblower'

(CBS video screenshot)

Everyone is buzzing about Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen’s interview on “60 Minutes,” where she reveals she believes Facebook is harming the world. I think most of us agree that’s true without ever having read the documents she smuggled out that show in their data that Facebook’s content is especially harmful to teens. Everyone has their own negative experiences with social media that confirm Haugen’s concerns that Facebook and Instagram encourage negative behaviors, spread negative news stories, and generally make people more miserable.

BUT, the glaring thing that’s missing from this interview is any major bombshell about how Big Tech is actively censoring one side of the political spectrum in America. Those of us in conservative media have sure felt it and we all know someone who has been banned on at least one of the platforms for saying innocuous things like “women don’t have penises.” Amanda Prestigiacomo from the Daily Wire was recently deplatformed on Twitter for stating that men dressing up like women aren’t women. We all know someone who has been silenced for saying out loud what half the country is thinking.

What’s more insidious? Allowing the free exchange of ideas, including fake news and the dreaded “misinformation,” or actively and maliciously silencing those who won’t toe one party’s philosophical line? I would argue all day long that it is not too much information that is hurting us but the creeping terror that saying the wrong thing could trigger a mob to ruin your life.

Haugen spent tons of time detailing how frightened she is that Facebook’s “civil integrity” office, which was set up to rig the election in favor of Joe Biden censor political speech, was shut down immediately after Joe Biden won. Haugen was not pleased with that.

They told us, “We’re dissolving Civic Integrity.” Like, they basically said, “Oh good, we made it through the election. There wasn’t riots. We can get rid of Civic Integrity now.” Fast forward a couple months, we got the insurrection. And when they got rid of Civic Integrity, it was the moment where I was like, “I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.”

Haugen and everyone else who calls January 6th an “insurrection” completely ignore the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters there that day who did not commit any violence. The FBI has found no evidence of an “insurrection” that was planned ahead of time (on Facebook or anywhere else). The facts on the ground point to a few inciters (who could have been FBI plants for all we know) and a bunch of people who trespassed while taking selfies. Calling it an “insurrection” is the first big red flag we should all have with this “whistleblower.” What is her reason for coming forward? To make things much more difficult for conservatives on social media? She claims it’s because she “lost a friend” to “conspiracy theories.”

Frances Haugen told us she was recruited by Facebook in 2019. She says she agreed to take the job only if she could work against misinformation because she had lost a friend to online conspiracy theories.

Frances Haugen: I never wanted anyone to feel the pain that I had felt. And I had seen how high the stakes were in terms of making sure there was high quality information on Facebook.

Haugen took the job at Facebook so she could curate what you read. And now that Facebook wants out of that game, she wants to take them down. Apparently, Hougen wants to be the Emporer of what is appropriate for everyone to read. Hard pass, lady. 

One of the more disturbing things she said is that Facebook doesn’t have third-party “fact-checkers” for the platform in newer rollouts around the world. Hougen claimed that this led to misunderstandings that led to deaths. But fact-checkers here in America don’t actually disseminate what’s true, either. We have example after example of Facebook’s fact-checkers spreading straight-up propaganda for Democrats. How is trading Facebook’s idea of “misinformation” for another brand of misinformation fixing anything?

Hougen also did not seem concerned about any kind of extremism except “right-wing” extremism and had no examples to show that Facebook had exacerbated left-wing lies that could have caused violence. (Hello? Antifa? BLM riots?) The only thing that Hougen seemed worried about was “Qanon” and “white supremacy.” She isn’t at all concerned about the rising black supremacy in the form of critical race theory or Antifa violence. She was obviously silent on any issues that CNN exacerbates through their lies and misinformation. Instead, she focused on how “dangerous” it is for people to follow Fox News on Facebook. No, really. Watch her interview. According to Hougen, following Fox News and Donald Trump on Facebook is the first step in the terrifyingly fast slide into becoming a domestic terrorist. (Insert eye roll here.)

RELATED: PJ Media Demands an Apology for the Damage Facebook’s Dishonest Partisan Fact-Checkers Have Done to Our Reputation

I don’t think anyone would argue that Facebook is good for us. In fact, almost all of us hate it with a burning passion…BUT—and this is a big but—it’s much more dangerous for a group of pointy-headed do-gooders sitting around deciding what’s good for you to be given the power of the internet. I’d rather burn the whole thing. Facebook was down all day on Monday and nobody missed it. It became a meme.

This Babylon Bee satire piece hit the nail right on the head.

“We know the world is celebrating the peace and unity brought about by us deleting Facebook from the internet,” said a cryptic message broadcast from an unknown location. “But if you don’t comply with our demand for $700 billion dollars by 8 pm tonight, we will restore Facebook and unleash its evils upon the world once again.”

“NOOOOOOOO!” screamed everyone in horror at the thought of being doomed to once again scroll through Facebook’s clinically addictive interface, depressing newsfeed, and angry arguments with Aunt Guthrie. “Please! PLEASE! Make Facebook stay gone! Don’t let it come back!”

 

“Clinically addicting.” Those are some sobering words that apply to Facebook, according to many studies and what Hougen’s stolen data shows. Addicting and damaging. It’s not because you have access to ideas that the left doesn’t like but because social media companies have been able to experiment on the masses without regulation or oversight by anyone—most likely because Silicon Valley is pouring billions into the pockets of our legislators. It’s strange how Hougen concentrated most of her comments around politics when the Wall Street Journal highlighted the damage that Instagram is doing to teen girls. 

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from 2019, summarizing research about teen girls who experience the issues.

“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another slide. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed.

Far more worrisome than misleading adults about politics (which we should all be savvy enough to figure out ourselves and if we don’t, then we deserve to be labeled morons) is the awful toll that social media is taking on our kids. But Hougen isn’t spending much time freaking out about suicide rates in teens caused by social media. She’s busy making crap up about an “insurrection” that wasn’t even as bad as a single BLM riot and wasn’t planned and didn’t originate on Facebook.

Do you get it yet? This misdirection is an obvious attempt to push legislators to crack down on “misinformation,” which is absolutely impossible to define.

And the White House agrees:

We live in a post-truth society. There is no truth, and if there is, it’s so hidden deep beneath the rubble of what used to be journalism that there is no hope of finding it, even with a team of rescue dogs. Truth died. We are all now just doing the best we can—piecing together remnants of things that were true to create some bastardized version of what might have happened. It’s like a Picasso. Is it a woman? Sort of. I don’t know. Neither do you. And that’s just how the Ministry of Truth likes it.