So: Facebook Decided That Kyle Rittenhouse Was Guilty, And Enabled False Media Narratives. Now What?


Facebook announced shortly after Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested after the Kenosha shootings, “We’ve designated the shooting in Kenosha a mass murder and are removing posts in support of the shooter.” At this point, there had been no investigation, no assessment of the evidence, and, obviously, no trial. Nonetheless, Facebook, which purports to be a protector of free speech and expression (but is not), decided to cut off debate as well as access to mitigating facts in the incident, and leave the field to one side only. Guess which? Here’s a hint: it’s the side that almost all of social media and Big Tech uses its power and influence to support. (See: 2020 Presidential election)

Want to begin with Facebook’s declaration that two deaths under still undetermined circumstances is a “mass murder”? Ironically, a jury that had far more information before it ultimately determined that this wasn’t a murder at all. Never mind: Facebook removed pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts, including posts from legal scholars attempting to explain why the teen could well have a valid self-defense claim. Then the platform manipulated its search engine so you couldn’t find any non-negative references to Rittenhouse that slipped through.

“We don’t allow symbols, praise or support of dangerous individuals or organizations on Facebook,” Facebook explained. “We define dangerous as things like: terrorist activity, organized hate or violence, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, criminal or harmful activity.” Wait, let me try to get this straight: support or praise for Black Lives Matter and its destructive riots accompanied by expressions of hate for police, whites and America isn’t covered in that description, but Kyle Rittenhouse is. Got it. What Facebook staff agrees with is protected, and what they don’t agree with (or understand, or know enough about) isn’t. One employee described the culture in Mark Zuckerberg’s Pleasure Dome thusly in internal discussions obtained by New York The Post:

“The rioting has been going on for over three months and it’s only an issue now because people inside the company saw violence they didn’t like. Employees are drunk on the absolute power of being in control of civics in America…”

By censoring and redacting public debate while allowing false media narratives to be fed to Facebook users without rebuttal, Facebook actively tried to make certain that Rittenhouse was found guilty in the court of pubic opinion. To a great extent, it succeeded.

To be fair. Facebook had a problem. Many conservatives were celebrating Rittenhouse as a hero for entering the riot zone, for bringing a rifle, and for shooting protesters; they were extolling vigilante conduct (and, in my view, foolish and reckless conduct as well.) Such opinions were no less irresponsible and misleading than those calling Rittenhouse a domestic terrorist, a white supremacist, and a murderer. However, it is obviously unethical to ban one extreme without banning the other. The First Amendment way—that is, free speech supporting way, since private entities are not bound by the Bill of Rights—is to let the two sides duke it out and rebut each other. Nah...Facebook had decided on “the Truth.” That’s why, since Rittenhouse was (correctly) acquitted, I have had to correct so many Facebook friends, usually astute and informed all, who repeated one or more of “The Twelve Lies of Rittenhouse.”

So now what? I’m open to suggestions.


Sources: New York Post 1, 2

12 thoughts on “So: Facebook Decided That Kyle Rittenhouse Was Guilty, And Enabled False Media Narratives. Now What?

  1. What next? Often the best way to defeat an adversary is to figure out what they want, and deny it to them. So, ignore Facebook. Don’t log on. Ever. Find another way to keep in contact with people or just ignore them entirely.

    I haven’t been on Facebook in almost 9 months, yet they are still trying to bombard me with “updates” and “here’s what you’ve missed”. My personal favourite is the email that says “we notice you’re having some trouble logging onto your account, click on this link to log in”. I just ignore them and send them straight to the junk mail folder.

    For one person, that really doesn’t make much of a difference. Start getting more people who have been on Facebook a long time simply refusing to log in and provide all of that wonderful personal information that Facebook desperately wants, and far more importantly – needs. Sooner or later they will stop trying to get you to log on and start asking, “OK, what have we done wrong? What have we done to lose your personal details?” Then, you might see some changes.

    Alternately, do what I do when a website demands my personal information. Lie. No one says I can’t. No one says I can’t say that my birthday is February 31st. Mess with their algorithms. Make it fun. Tell them you love vintage shoe horns one day and a week later claim that you really prefer vintage beanie babies. Again, sooner or later companies realize that it’s harder and harder to determine our preferences, then their predictive models fall apart.

    What am I suggesting? Hit them where it hurts. Make them come to you and demand that they stop the political nonsense. One by one, when Facebook loses private information, it will hurt them. They will have to adjust, or go bankrupt.

    PS. I notice on your site you have the option to log into Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. How hard is it to remove those options?

    • The funny thing about Facebook is that is perfectly willing to feed you anti-vax crap, if it thinks that’s what you want. Facebook flip-flops on me, because it can’t figure out if I am a liberal or conservative. One day, it floods me with liberal crap. The next conservative crap (albeit, with it’s dutiful links to their “vaccine information center”). If I “interact” with a post, it latches on to that and thinks I must be globally interested. I then have to consign it to “see less of this” hell. Frankly, all political discourse is sent to this special place, as any remotely political post is universally either toxic or smug. I didn’t even share my vaccination status, because it is literally not a political issue to me. Posting about it makes it one. Failing to affirm to my Facebook overlords my status is likely what led to the anti-vax crap (perhaps to try to expose me to their own pro-vax crap?). Either way, it’s claim that it’s trying to protect me from misinformation is obvious bullshit, as they will resort to anything to get me to stay on the site.

      Incidentally, Facebook seems to have figured out lately that I am only interested in cat photos (among other errata). Now all the ads have a cat in them, whether relevant to the product or not!

    • Sooner or later they will stop trying to get you to log on and start asking, “OK, what have we done wrong? What have we done to lose your personal details?”

      Do you mean like the way that, in April 1945, Hitler started asking himself that sort of thing rather than blaming the German people for failing him? Or is there a chance that Facebook will start saying that Facebook’s users failed Facebook?

      Alternately, do what I do when a website demands my personal information. Lie. No one says I can’t. No one says I can’t say that my birthday is February 31st. Mess with their algorithms…

      Ah … that doesn’t work out like that. They can gain valuable data from even that, as they have enough data for their sophisticated algorithms to use to spot things from the negatives. It’s like having access to a tipster who is always wrong, rather than erratically; you can make money from that. Your “messing” is still giving them useful data points, because you don’t have the resources to be both random and counter-factual enough.

  2. Two things should happen and may possibly help. I think Facebook needs to split. One part is a public utility and needs treated as such. This is the modern day version of a bulletin board. The second, Kyle, while suing for Libel and Slander, should sue FB as well. It is not “independent fact checking” to say what they said and they didn’t check facts. FB has been misleading to call them “fact checkers” or “independent”.
    Third, time… kids think FB is for old people, it’s losing its shine and people are sick of their newsfeed being catered to them via algorithms.
    I think since FB and the rest have a lot of problems, it’ll be a lot of little things that improves it, or maybe it won’t and will go the way of MySpace, time will tell.

  3. While I am reluctant to recommend litigation when I will not benefit personally, sue them.

    My understanding is that they have immunity for what people publish on their site. As a republisher of defamatory words, they would ordinarily be liable (in the absence of special protection).

    The announcement Jack quoted seems different. It is Facebook’s own defamatory statement. I would be surprised if immunity applies here.


  4. Mrs. OB is of the opinion we are near or just past peak wokeness and the left will soon collapse beneath its own weight and be swept aside or at least pushed back into parity with the right. I think the left is ubiquitous and has completely won over the young and is thus in a position to get what they want: a failed state. At that point, maybe things will get better once the young see the chaos they’ve brought upon themselves. But in any event, it will be their (the young’s) problem.

  5. At this point I have to revoke the Hanlon’s Razor privileges from Facebook and the media. I suspect they may be deliberately spreading misinformation about violent incidents to stir up misplaced resentment.

    If the public were to accept these incidents as unfortunate or tragic but not as manifestations of racism, and decided to focus on constructive change rather than of engaging in pointless riots, then progressives and conservatives would more easily find common ground and build trust. In other words, inciting indignation where it isn’t warranted perpetuates polarization, which is what keeps the media, social media, and politicians in business.

    Either that, or they’re cowards who are afraid they’ll be canceled if they do fact-check that doesn’t validate people’s feelings, which would be very nearly as bad.

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