It’s no secret: top execs at Facebook do not like guns, and they’re more than happy to enforce the President’s vision of a disarmed America by any extra-legal means necessary.
Yesterday, things got even worse. Gizmodo reported that Mark Zuckerberg’s ire extends beyond guns, describing in a lengthy article how former Facebook “news curators” routinely suppressed conservative news stories on the website’s “trending” news section.
A former news curator and journalist told Gizmodo that “workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.”
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” the former curator continued. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”
Other examples of blackballed news items include former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder.
According to Gizmodo’s report, Facebook presents their news stories as organically “trending,” when in reality their team of young, Ivy-Leave, East Cost news curators choose which stories to inject or exclude, sometimes promoting stories that aren’t organically trending at all.
This is perhaps what causes the most consternation among conservatives and pro-gun Facebook users. Facebook portrays itself as an unbiased third party, a tool that can be used by anyone with a computer and a modem. The truth is that Facebook is just as biased as any other anti-gun media outlet, and they’re not afraid to flex their muscles to promote their agenda.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining—two, in fact.
The first is that Facebook users are fighting back against the site’s ban on private gun sales. As this anti-gun Forbes article laments, Facebook’s ban isn’t working. Secret firearms groups have been able to avoid detection by overzealous anti-gun users, and pro-gun users have developed posting methods that allow them to avoid detection.
The second silver lining comes from an unexpected place: within Facebook itself.
Chuck Rossi is a director of engineering at Facebook, and, according to Forbes, has been described by pro-gun Facebook users as “a good guy working for us behind enemy lines,” “one of our allies,” “a man who gives us hope,” and, “the ultimate badass.” He’s one of Facebook’s most prominent gun enthusiasts, and he’s made it his unofficial mission to support gun groups struggling to survive in a hostile environment.
Rossi is the leader of the “Admin Contact” group, a secret group of administrators for gun enthusiast pages from around the country.
“I am 100% laser focused on getting your groups back to you so you have a chance to get them to comply with the new policy,” Rossi wrote on the group’s page shortly after the private sale ban was announced. “It is my sole freaking purpose in life until it is done. I’m dumping extra work on my mangers (sic) and my teams to cover for me while I take on this new role. I know this new policy sucks. I personally don’t agree with it and everyone in Facebook is pissed about how it was rolled out.”
Gun control groups have not been happy. “We’ve shut down thousands (of posts and group pages), reporting hundreds per day. And then we see them pop back up again, which is really upsetting,” said a woman who has organized recent volunteer efforts to flag gun sales on Facebook.
“Facebook allows admins to either remove posts, and be reinstated, or remove members, but then do the same thing again,” the organizer said. “It’s like trying to scoop the ocean with a sieve.”
This is good news for gun enthusiasts on Facebook, but the fight is far from over. Gun control via the marketplace—rather than via state or federal legislation—is looking like the new anti-gun tactic. The anti-gun lobby hasn’t been able to accomplish their goals through representatives of the people, so they’re turning to private corporations like Facebook or lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Individuals like Chuck Rossi are fighting the good fight, but it’s up to all supporters of the Second Amendment to stay vigilant if we want to maintain our right to keep and bear arms.