While Elon Musk may be blowing the doors off censorship on Twitter, it appears Facebook is still all-in on running cover for the Biden administration.
The Spectator’s most recent cover dared to poke fun at President Biden’s questionable cognitive abilities, depicting him holding up five fingers under the headline, “Six more years.”
When the magazine attempted to run the cover as an ad on Facebook — something it has done with many of its satirical covers — it was told the cover “didn’t ‘comply with advertising policies,'” according to the magazine’s editor, Fraser Nelson, who took to Twitter, where such things are now permissible, to break the news.
“Facebook have just told us we can’t run this cover as an advert (as we normally do for our covers),” he tweeted on Thursday. “Is it really too mean? We could change it, have him hold up six fingers, then try again…”
Facebook have just told us we can't run this cover as an advert (as we normally do for our covers). Is it really too mean? We could change it, have him hold up six fingers, then try again… pic.twitter.com/sSBBQibLnc
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) January 5, 2023
The magazine appealed Facebook’s decision, to no avail.
“We’ve appealed to Facebook – saying we’re a political mag, all of our covers are political,” Nelson wrote. “Appeal rejected.”
“It seems satire directed at Biden is rejected by Facebook (or its bots) but when we mocked Trump, Boris, Truss etc that was all fine and fair comment,” he added. “Funny old world.”
The editor went on to explain that Facebook didn’t bother to explain how the cover violated the platform’s policies.
“You asked for another review of your rejected ads,” Facebook told Nelson. “After another review, it’s been determined that they still don’t comply with our Advertising Policies.”
“Doesn’t say why not. Nothing about wrong person posting, etc.,” Nelson tweeted. “We run Spectator covers all the time as FB ads, usually mocking politicians…”
UK political analyst Joe Armitage cited an alleged quote from Nick Clegg, president of Global Affairs at Meta, the parent of Facebook, who reportedly once said, “Freedom of speech and a free press are at the very heart of our liberal, democratic society.”
“Maybe the Californian sun adjusted his views,” Armitage sarcastically speculated.
“Nick Clegg was all for state regulation of UK press when he was Deputy PM,” Nelson replied. “Those most keen on regulating the press are those who usually position themselves as defenders of press freedom.”
Nick Clegg was all for state regulation of UK press when he was Deputy PM.
Those most keen on regulating the press are those who usually position themselves as defenders of press freedom
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) January 5, 2023
It’s a sobering thought, especially given what we now know about the FBI — whose agents have sworn to never betray “the public trust” — and its aggressive efforts on Twitter to suppress stories that might negatively reflect on the White House’s official narratives.
Following the sixth installment of the explosive Twitter Files, Rep. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tweeted, “And if FBI used Twitter to censor, you bet they also used Google and Facebook.”
And if FBI used Twitter to censor, you bet they also used Google and Facebook
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 16, 2022
With the rejection of The Spectator’s cover, it seems Hawley was right, and the problem of political censorship is an ongoing one.
Having said that, Facebook has apparently reversed course with respect to Biden’s five-fingered funny.
“Anyone who wants to run an ad that’s about politics or elections has to be authorized,” a spokesperson for the platform said Thursday night, according to the Daily Mail. “If The Spectator resubmits it from an authorized page admin, the ad will be approved.”
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