KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Facebook is censoring anti-Hamas, pro-Israel commentary

Nov 19, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2023, 1:02 am

Image: Facebook's Meta logo sign can be seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, California,...

Facebook's Meta logo sign can be seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Oct. 28, 2021. (File photo: Tony Avelar, AP)

(File photo: Tony Avelar, AP)

Facebook’s parent company Meta is censoring anti-Hamas and pro-Israel commentary. It’s seemingly the latest effort in Big Tech to choose sides on political issues that seems designed to tip the scales in public opinion against Israel.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Facebook page posted a comic critical of college students supporting Hamas. It depicts a college student at the dinner table with his parents. They lean into their son and say they’re “concerned about how college has changed you.” The son, with a Hitler mustache, is wearing a shirt that says, “I heart Hamas.”

The comic’s message is clear: it’s a criticism of how colleges indoctrinate students with anti-Israel propaganda. College campuses have become a hot bed of anti-Semitic hate rallies where students are justifying terrorist attacks against Israel that include putting babies in ovens, raping women, and burning the elderly alive. But Facebook said it violates their community standards on “dangerous individuals and organizations.” It barred my account from several privileges, including monetization, extended reach and engagement, and creating ads. And it refuses to reverse its decision.

Facebook is supporting Hamas messages

Like everything else on Facebook, appealing their decision was not a simple or straightforward task.

The system tells you that it’s sophisticated technology flags comments and you should trust it because it applies the rules evenly, regardless of viewpoint. That claim is hard to believe. I need only look at the barrage of anti-Semitic, pro-Hamas messages I get whenever I post something pro-Israel. Users search keywords on Facebook for posts supporting Israel, so they can offer links to claims that Israel is genocidal and evil. Those posts don’t get flagged by Facebook’s software.

After finally submitting an appeal, the presumption is that a human being will review the comic and realize the point it’s making. Facebook’s technology is obviously not “sophisticated” enough to detect sarcasm, apparently thinking the post was actually saying we should love Hamas. But the appeal was reviewed and still rejected.

A Facebook staffer reviewed the comic, saw it was critical of Hamas and supportive of Israel, and decided to uphold the action taken against my account. Is this a one-off human error or an anti-Semitic staff members? Perhaps. But I’m not the only one dealing with this issue according to listeners who say they’ve been dinged for the same reasons.

More from Jason Rantz: Sounders struggle to stop fan displays of anti-Semitism at matches

Taking sides

It should come as no shock that Meta appears to side with pro-Hamas propaganda. It regularly sides against what it deems a conservative position in order to placate young radicals.

Meta regularly chooses the side its staff agree with. During former President Donald Trump’s reelection, Meta did what it could to impact the campaign. Notably, Meta suppressed reporting of Hunter Biden’s laptop. It even pulled a Trump campaign video attacking Antifa. Like it did with my anti-Hamas cartoon, Meta claimed the anti-Antifa video violated the platform’s “organized hate policy” for featuring an upside-down red triangle. The video asked supporters to “stand with your President and his decision to declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization.” Meanwhile, at the time, Antifa was openly using Meta to organize violent rallies and riots, and dox its political adversaries.

The struggling social media company must also placate a younger American audience, as Meta has a sizable chunk of middle-aged users. Younger Americans tend to be the furthest to the left and Meta must court them to survive. The company has a financial incentive not to remove content younger activists believe in, even if it means helping to destroy Israel and kill Jews.

Jason Rantz content: Jewish students targeted with swastikas, ‘gas the Jews’ chants

Facebook is, of course, unaccountable

How is it that so much pro-Hamas propaganda, content that is so clearly anti-Semitic, manages to stay on Facebook, yet something that is relatively inoffensive gets pulled because it criticizes a terrorist organization? If you’re hoping to get a comment from Facebook, don’t hold your breath.

As difficult as it is to get a human being on the phone to help with technical issues related to its services that are almost too buggy to use, it’s more difficult to get a communications staffer to respond to requests for comment. They offer a generic press@meta.com email address to send emails to. Those of us in the media know that, generally, nonspecific press email addresses like that almost never get responses.

After finding contact for Meta Communications Director Andy Stone, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH reached out multiple times but received no response. The same was true when he was contacted on X.

Notably, Stone does respond to Meta accounts being targeted. When a pro-Palestinian account was removed, he weighed in publicly to assure everyone it was done in error. The account, Eye on Palestine, is virulently anti-Israel and spreads pro-Hamas propaganda. Thus, it probably was removed in error. Meta appears only interested in removing the anti-Hamas commentary.

Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow him on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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