Former Facebook Executive and current Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri admitted something about Facebook that essentially every honest person already knows.
Responding to a Twitter post delighting in Facebook’s recent moves to ban all manner of high-profile conservatives — including President Donald Trump himself — Mosseri said, “We’re not neutral.”
Illusions of Neutrality and Delusions of Grandeur
Facebook owns Instagram, and so as Head of Instagram, Mosseri retains an intimate connection to Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant.
Thus, when replying to a comment made on Twitter by tech journalist Will Oremus about Facebook, Mosseri understood that of which he spoke.
Recently, Facebook announced that it would be appointing Roy Austin, formerly a major official in the Obama Administration, to become its “VP of Civil Rights.” The vague and euphemistic title of this position is meant to conceal what kind of work those who occupy it truly engage in, but it is virtually certain that the position involves ruthless censoring of anything that even mildly diverges from elite-approved opinion.
Will Oremus, however, approved of the decision and said on Twitter, “This feels like the kind of move that Facebook could have made 5+ years ago if it hadn’t been so intent at the time on portraying itself as a neutral platform…”
In response, Mosseri let the cat out of the bag and said, “No platform is neutral, we all have values and those values influence the decisions we make.”
This is true enough, of course, but it means that among the values held by Mosseri and those like him is a belief that freedom of discussion is bad, that ordinary people are too stupid to make up their own minds about things and must be guided by wise elites, and that people like himself are among those wise guardians.
It also suggests that Mosseri believes that his own views are not things that are conditioned by life, experience, and cultural upbringing, but are the simple deliverances of pure reason itself. As such, it doesn’t seem to occur to him that he could ever be wrong, and it doesn’t bother him to censor those he disagrees with.
He added, “We try and be apolitical, but that’s increasingly difficult, particularly in the US where people are more and more polarized.”
How banning the president of the United States from your website can possibly be viewed as an attempt to remain apolitical, Mosseri did not bother to explain. He also did not wonder whether tech companies’ own actions may have contributed to the political polarization that he deplores. When you persecute people and prevent them from speaking their minds, they only become more resentful.
Big Tech March as One
President Trump has not only been banned from Facebook but also Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and now, YouTube. The same can be said for many of his supporters or for those who simply ask questions about the 2020 election, the response to COVID-19, or any other uncomfortable topics.
It’s difficult not to suspect that this action was coordinated, and Mosseri’s statement only lights a bigger fire under those suspicions.