Facebook blocks links to website calling for investigation of Amazon Ring surveillance

The blocked website was promoting a new campaign launched by more than a dozen civil liberties groups.

Facebook and Amazon have both faced heavy scrutiny for their mass data collection practices and the implications these have on user privacy. Facebook has also been widely criticized for censoring content on its platforms.

And now, Facebook has started to censor Investigate Amazon – a campaign website that draws attention to Amazon’s surveillance and police partnerships.

The Investigate Amazon campaign has been backed by more than a dozen civil liberties groups and calls for lawmakers to “investigate Amazon’s surveillance dragnet.” It encourages visitors to sign a petition, ask congress to investigate Amazon, and “get the word out on social media.”

However, if people attempt to share links to Investigate Amazon on Facebook, they’re presented with a message that reads “You can’t share this link” because it “goes against our Community Standards.”

The message that appears when Facebook users attempt to share Investigate Amazon.
The message that appears when Facebook users attempt to share Investigate Amazon.

Facebook didn’t specify how the link goes against its Community Standards but Fight for the Future, one of the civil liberties groups backing the campaign, suggested: “Maybe Facebook doesn’t love the idea of Big Tech monopolies facing congressional scrutiny?”

Fight for the Future added that the link being blocked highlights just how dangerous the concentrated power that these tech giants hold is to the users of their platforms:

“Whether this was intentional censorship, some technical glitch, or just a mistake made by an overworked human or robot, the end result is the same. The campaign page that we made to give people a voice in their democracy is being blocked by a Silicon Valley giant. This underscores the fundamental danger of having a tiny handful of companies with so much power. This is why we need lawmakers to investigate and take meaningful action to rein in Big Tech companies like Facebook and Amazon.”

This is just one of many examples of Facebook blocking all links to or mentions of a brand, person, or website after deciding that discussing or linking to them on the platform is a violation of its Community Standards.

When meme maker Carpe Donktum set up his new website, MemeWorld, links to it was blocked by Facebook within hours for unspecified Community Standards violations.

And with activist Tommy Robinson, Facebook went one step further. They said mentioning him is forbidden, unless you write that you don’t like him, or that “he’s an idiot.”

Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]