Even the Facebook whistle blower rejects TDs extreme social media censorship ideas

Yesterday, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee which will have a lead role in the consideration of the proposed legislation contained in the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill that came before the Seanad on Tuesday.

Haugen has become famous for claiming that Facebook has been remiss in allowing all sorts of bad stuff to be facilitated through the use of its pages. That bad stuff, she alleges, range from teenage eating disorders to human trafficking to the most serious one – and one that actually gets little attention curiously – that Facebook was “literally fanning ethnic violence” in Myanmar and Ethiopia.

The latter is of little interest to the western liberal left, so it has been her claims regarding Facebook’s role in somehow contributing to the January 2020 Washington “insurrection” that has made her a Woke superstar. And explains why the Irish liberal left invited her to help them frame what they obviously hope will be a restrictive Bill that will allow them to censor more stuff they dislike.

Haugen’s interest in Ireland is motivated by the fact that this country is a key location for Facebook and other social media giants, and therefore a prime target for those wishing to ensure that it becomes much more of a ideological vehicle of the liberal left. Ciaran Cannon made that very point when he lauded the role of social media in passing the same sex marriage referendum and hoped that it would continue to do that.

Which it clearly has done and anyone who holds dissenting views on the totems of the liberal left will find themselves bemused at the notion that conservative views are tolerated let alone promoted by Facebook and other social media.

The same applies to Haugen’s reference to the “Covid infodemic” which is another favourite of every single party in Leinster House bar one – in the light of the manner in which online discussion of masking, vaccine mandates and other restrictions was managed and monitored.

The dog that does not bark in all of this of course is that the most extreme transgender ideology and influencing for example is subject to no controls. Yet, this is an area that clearly does have a very real impact on “vulnerable” young people who may only hear one side of the narrative and be unduly influenced in the direction of life changing decisions made at a very young age.

Not one of the Committee members nor Haugen herself referred to that. Indeed Senator Shane Cassells of Fianna Fáil seemed to be all gung ho about banning ads for fast food and gambling in order to protect children, even though the legal restrictions on children gambling are such that it is virtually impossible for anyone under the age of 18 to bet online. And yet the endless promotion of gender dysphoria is never questioned and if it is, then it is the questioners who are sanctioned and not just on social media.

Interestingly, Haugen did not back up some of the more extreme proposals of Committee members. She stressed that changes to the algorithmic configurations were far more important than banning or restricting content but of course that is exactly what our lot are aiming for.

That is apparent from the published text of the Bill and you may be certain that the Committee as well as the Seanad and the Dáil will be seeking to making that more obvious through amendment.

Senator Hoey of one of the smaller left parties babbled on about “levels of manipulation” and “encryption” and in fairness Haugen did her best to appear that she – possibly uniquely – knew what Hoey was actually talking about. She firmly rejected what appeared to be a proposal from Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin that people ought to have to produce identification in order to use social media.

There was another proposal from Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins to use facial recognition as a means to monitor access to social media platforms. All in the name of “protecting democracy” don’t you know.

A Fianna Fáil TD O’Sullivan mentioned neo Nazis and Trump for some reason.

In fairness, while Imelda Munster of Sinn Féin in Louth managed to appear concerned with a straight face about “misinformation,” her party colleague Johnny Mythen – who has also said some other sensible things in the past about local employment in Wexford – made a reasonable point with regard to the impact that having to view violent and other nasty content might have on those employed to monitor such things. And which surely are more disturbing than an impressionable fact checker reading an alternative view on abortion or critical race theory.

But sense is in short supply among our legislators. Haugen herself made a reasonable point with regard to the increasing role that social media plays in the lives of people and that it can be both the product and contributor to social isolation. That is obviously compounded where someone may become obsessed with harmful content.

The notion that diverse political opinions – and we know from our own leftist observers and fact checkers just how “extreme” someone has to be to become a target – are even a small part of that danger exists solely in the heads of the liberal left.

That they have reason to fear alternative views is hardly a mystery when you have to spend several hours listening to their wall to wall banality and lack of actual knowledge of what they are talking about 90% of the time.

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