Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said Monday that Facebook has a bias, replying to a tweet about the massive platform, “We’re not neutral.”
“We’re not neutral,” Mosseri admitted of Facebook (which owns Instagram). “No platform is neutral, we all have values and those values influence the decisions we make.”
“We try and be apolitical,” he said, “but that’s increasingly difficult, particularly in the US where people are more and more polarized.”
Mosseri’s comments came on the heels of the apparently coordinated censorship of President Donald Trump from Twitter, Facebook, and then YouTube. Apple, Google, and Amazon, too, teamed up in nuking Parler, an alternative to Twitter, for allegedly insufficiently censoring “violent content.”
The Instagram head was responding to a comment from tech writer Will Oremus regarding Facebook’s announcement of Roy Austin, formerly of the Obama administration, to serve as Facebook’s “VP of Civil Rights.”
“Roy Austin Jr. has been named vice president of civil rights with the mandate to oversee Facebook’s accountability on racial hatred and discrimination on its platform,” reported NPR. “He’s slated to start Jan. 19.”
We’re not neutral. No platform is neutral, we all have values and those values influence the decisions we make. We try and be apolitical, but that’s increasingly difficult, particularly in the US where people are more and more polarized.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) January 11, 2021
In response to the announcement, Oremus posted: “This feels like the kind of move that Facebook could have made 5+ years ago if it hadn’t been so intent at the time on portraying itself as a neutral platform and promoting online connection as an absolute good.”
“We’re not neutral,” Mosseri responded. “No platform is neutral, we all have values and those values influence the decisions we make. We try and be apolitical, but that’s increasingly difficult, particularly in the US where people are more and more polarized.”
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Monday that Trump’s account “will be suspended until at least the inauguration and perhaps longer,” The Guardian reported. “Sandberg, speaking to Reuters, said the company has no plans to lift its block on Trump’s accounts and that she was ‘glad’ that Facebook had taken the action.”
“This shows the president is not above the policies we have,” said Sandberg.
Twitter announced Friday that Trump was permanently banned from using their platform due to “risk of further incitement of violence.”
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement. “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”