Earlier this month, Facebook deleted two PragerU videos and “shadow banned” their posts, so they reached a grand total of zero of PragerU’s 3 million followers. On Friday, PragerU Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Craig Strazzeri told PJ Media exactly what happened. He revealed that, while Facebook apologized for the mistake, they have given the staffer responsible nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
“When pressing them for further answers, it was interesting what we got,” Strazzeri told PJ Media. Apparently, users flagged the two videos as “hate speech,” sending them to Facebook to review. “Facebook confirmed that it was one employee, one individual, who made the decision that both of the videos were in fact ‘hate speech’ and violated their guidelines.”
When the Facebook employee ruled that the videos were in fact “hate speech,” he also put the PragerU administrator “into a feature block.” This means that the staffer at PragerU responsible for most Facebook posts “was prohibited from posting on PragerU’s behalf.” This means that each of the 20 subsequent PragerU posts did not reach PragerU’s audience.
After PJ Media and other outlets reported the story, Facebook apologized. “The videos were restored. They claim that our 20 other posts were unblocked, but they still reached zero of our 3 million followers,” Strazzeri noted. “We didn’t buy that it was just some simple mistake.”
“We asked Facebook, if this really was a mistake, what are you going to do about it?” the CMO recalled.
“They basically said that the one employee — who’s still working there — will go through the training on how to interpret the hate speech guidelines and the community guidelines, because he clearly didn’t understand them,” Strazzeri said, bursting out into sardonic laughter. “He’s gonna go through the same training that he already got in the first place, which enabled him to make that decision, which means nothing.”
UPDATE: Facebook has confirmed to us that an employee on the content review team was responsible for making the decision to remove two of our posts as “hate speech” and that this employee is still employed by FB.
— PragerU (@prageru) August 29, 2018
“This leads us to believe even further that Facebook is not too serious about the issue, even now,” Strazzeri explained. “There was no recourse for this action. It was a human being who was able to make the decision to pull two videos down and to this day, there’s been no serious recourse.”
The idea that PragerU would be censored for “hate speech” is indeed laughable. “Any person who watches a video and thinks it’s hateful or offensive is not being honest with themselves,” Strazzeri quipped. “Some people call us the Boy Scouts of conservatives.”
Despite this, the conservative video nonprofit has experienced a great deal of persecution from big tech companies. Prager University sued Google and YouTube for discrimination against conservative content, when YouTube had blocked access to 40 videos. Since the suit, YouTube continues to restrict access to videos, and the number of videos targeted has risen to 80.
Early this year, Twitter banned PragerU from promoting tweets through advertising. “You can no longer promote your tweets,” Srazzeri recalled Twitter saying. “We reached out to them to find out why, and we never really got a response from a human.” Twitter did not even point to a specific violation, so they do not know how to address the problem.
.@Twitter has completely blocked us from running any promotions or ads for posting what they say is "Inappropriate Content" — After several weeks of trying to get clarification and more information, @TwitterSupport has yet to respond with anything beyond an automated email. pic.twitter.com/Q1SmRkmVrp
— PragerU (@prageru) February 27, 2018
While PragerU doesn’t know what specific tweet got them banned from ads, Strazzeri said, “We do know why — because we’re conservative and we’re reaching a lot of people.”
“They’re not censoring us because they really think we’re hateful or dangerous, they’re censoring us because they think we’re effective,” he said.
Strazzeri told PJ Media that PragerU is not currently looking to file a lawsuit against Facebook, but they would consider their options “if this pattern continues.”
“What’s troubling is that this is a widespread issue across multiple platforms,” he added. “The Left has lost political control in this country, and they’re really leaning on Big Tech to silence conservative voices.”
Strazzeri said he was glad to hear that 100 Facebook employees have joined a group to address the social media site’s liberal “political monoculture.” He noted, however, that “Facebook has 25,000 employees, and only 100 of them have stood up. We encourage all of them to speak up.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.