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IPFS News Link • Censorship

Why is Facebook censoring Sy Hersh's NordStream report?

•, by Branko Marce

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. policy toward the conflict has inter-mingled uneasily with the U.S. government's growing convergence with the social media platforms that make up today's digital public square.

Tech companies have selectively relaxed their bans on violent and hate speech to align with Ukraine's war effort, shuttered the accounts of media outlets critical of the war and U.S. policy to it, and seen a vast army of bots push content supporting Ukraine and its NATO partners. And now, Facebook is actively censoring and discouraging the sharing of Seymour Hersh's reporting on the alleged U.S. role in the attack on the Nordstream pipelines.

As of Thursday, if you try to share on Facebook the February 8 Substack post in which Hersh first laid out the anonymously sourced charge, you'll first be met with a prompt informing you about "additional reporting" on the subject in the form of Norwegian fact-checking website Faktisk, and warning you that "pages and websites that repeatedly publish or share false news will see their overall distribution reduced and be restricted in other ways."

If you decide to "share anyway," Hersh's piece is posted but blurred out, and labeled "false information" by the social media platform. (It's since been unblurred and labeled "partly false information"). The phenomenon was first pointed out by Michael Shellenberger, and has since been replicated by othersincluding myself.

Besides labeling the post as false, Facebook also sent me a notification roughly 10 hours later informing me about the notice they'd added and that I had shared something that "includes information that independent fact-checkers said was partly false." Facebook cautions that "people who repeatedly share false information might have their posts moved lower in News Feed," suggesting that if I go on to share any other reporting that's been challenged by fact-checkers, I'll be punished by having my account's reach throttled.