Pluralists would argue that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are just neutral sites through which anyone is free to express their opinion, however, Marxists would suggest that they work with governments and corporations to suppress views which go against the dominant ideology by censoring anything which challenges the mainstream capitalist world view.
The recent banning of the anti-media group from Facebook and Twitter seem to have gone further than just banning hate-groups and fake-news creators, and suggests support for the Marxist view of the media.
The banning of anti media from Facebook and Twitter
Anti-Media is an alternative news outlet that offers information that runs counter to the often pro-government narratives of traditional media outlets.
Their content is heavily critical of the current political system which they believe has heavily indebted ordinary people, and increasingly infringed on individual rights while expanding its reach and power.
They focus mainly on challenging unjust government corruption, oppression, and authority – criticising both ‘right’ and ‘left’ wing governments and part of their stated agenda is to awaken people from their passive subservience to big government and corporatism.
At their peak in 2016, Anti-media were reaching tens of millions of people per week, offering an alternative to the mainstream news, but their reach then declined, according to them, due to algorithmic changes following Trump coming to power.
Then in October 2018, the anti-media Facebook page was unpublished altogether, along with its Twitter feed shortly afterwards. A number of its employee’s twitter accounts were also suspended, including that of Carey Wedler, whose video about the issue, published on the censorship resistant site @dtube is well worth a watch.
NB her personal Twitter account was suspended without warning, and despite appealing this four months ago, she still hasn’t received a legitimate explanation of why her account was suspended.
The official Facebook and Twitter line was that they removed anti-media as part of a wider purge of “spam” and “fake accounts” that targeted users with the intent of misleading them, by trying to do such things as driving them to ad farms to profit.
HOWEVER, neither anti-media nor their employees did any of this, they were dedicated to evidence-based factual reporting without sensationalism
Along with Anti-Media, dozens of pro-freedom libertarian pages were also deleted during the Facebook and Twitter purge back in October 2018, pages such as:
Some interesting analysis by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who investigated these purges suggests that this isn’t about purging left or right political views, as both types of page and account were purged, but rather it was about censoring the following themes which are touched on by both ends of the political spectrum:
- Anti-war content
- Focus on police brutality and misuse of state power
- Disinterest in two party politics
Relevance to A-level sociology
This seems to be a straightforward example of Facebook and Twitter censoring media content because of ideological reasons – anything which upsets the status quo by challenging the state too vociferously (whether from left or right ends of the political spectrum) and/ or draws attention to state violence is more likely to get censored.
In short, this suggests support for any perspective which argues that mainstream media companies collude to support the dominant ideology by gatekeeping out views which are hyper-critical of those in power.