The latest monster hiding under New York Times’ bed is – satire. Specifically, some types of satire appearing on Facebook that are allegedly either under- or over-moderated there.
That means a recent NYT piece focused negatively on a particular kind of satire sites that its writers think should be “dealt” with – those of conservative provenance like the satirical site Babylon Bee – but not those in the same genre but from the other end of the ideological spectrum, like the Onion.
One could also say that the New York Times is trying to advance censorship here under the guise of concerns over misinformation supposedly hidden inside satirical material.
Whatever the case, this “newspaper of record” on Saturday published the article admitting that political speech is now “more actively” policed on the world’s biggest social media platform, but warning and complaining that “dealing” with satire still eludes Facebook’s algorithm, censors – the same ones who are also trying to, with a straight face, “fact-check” content like memes and jokes.
The article treats instances where left-leaning sites, like the Nib, whose targets are conservatives, have their posts removed by Facebook as cases of impermissible censorship. One of their anti-Proud Boys cartoons was labeled as advocating violence, and the page received a warning for a violation of guidelines.
Another example that the authors of the NYT piece – “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony – As Facebook has become more active at moderating political speech, it has had trouble dealing with satire” – stand up in defense of are once again left-wing critics, this time of Israel’s policies.
Cartoonist Ed Hall who took issue with Israel preventing two pro-Palestinian US congressmen from entering the country two years ago, and did so by making an analogy between this decision and Nazi Germany, got removed for hate speech.
These should have stayed up, is the idea behind the article, because they’re satire – while the Babylon Bee should be treated as a far right misinformation peddler rather than a satirical site that it is.