Facebook shocked some Danish citizens when the social media giant openly admitted in an interview to censoring British investigative journalist and activist, Tommy Robinson. Further, the tech giant also said that it would take down posts that mentioned Robinson or promoted him and further stating that only slander and negative comments about him will prevail on the platform.
In an interview with one of Denmark’s most popular news shows, Deadline, Peter Andreas Münster, Facebook’s Head of Communications for the Nordic region, openly admitted that the tech giant was deliberately censoring Robinson as well as any posts made to promote his work.
Until Facebook decided to censor him, Robinson had amassed nearly 1.2 million followers on the platform. Using his influence and popularity on the platform, the UK-based activist revealed several insights into the grooming gang epidemic that targeted several young girls throughout the UK, something that many feel was heavily ignored by mainstream media outlets and that UK police would later apologize over for not taking more seriously.
Robinson’s efforts have highlighted and exposed UK politicians and media, forcing the BBC to launch an internal investigation over possible ethics violations.
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At a juncture where Robinson’s efforts to expose the scandals had attracted global attention, Facebook labeled him a “hate preacher” and banned him from the platform in February of 2019.
During the interview, Münster was told that several Facebook users have been punished for mentioning Tommy Robinson on the platform.
“That’s a tough sanction against him,” said host Lotte Folke Kaarsholm, referring to the way Robinson has been censored so heavily on the platform. “He’s cut off. But what’s happening now is that people who just mention Tommy Robinson are having their posts removed, get blocked or threatened to be removed from Facebook. How does that work?”
Facebook’s communication head said, “Our rules don’t explicitly forbid talking about Tommy Robinson – you are allowed to write that you don’t like him, or that he’s an idiot.”
The interview ended up receiving heavy criticism in the country as Danes expressed their disdain at Facebook’s outright censorship of free speech. What’s more shocking is the fact that Facebook also ended up taking down posts that encouraged people to view the above-mentioned interview on Deadline.
DR, a state-run radio network that owns the Deadline TV show, posted on their own Facebook page asking people to watch the televised interview. Even that post was removed by Facebook, adding to the backlash. According to a statement from Lotte Folke Kaarsholm, the post is again available, after DR complained to Facebook.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced a similar scenario with independent broadcaster Alex Jones, suggesting that you’re only allowed to talk about Alex Jones if you’re being critical of him.