Presidential candidate Donald Trump has stirred up vast amounts of controversy with his recent stance that the United States should ban all Muslims from entering the country in order to prevent terrorism. One of his notable critics, filmmaker Michael Moore, suggested that Facebook users report his content as “hate speech” to the site in order to get it blocked. However, Facebook has said that it will not censor Trump because of his newsworthiness.
“When we review reports of content that may violate our policies, we take context into consideration,” Facebook told Fast Company. “That context can include the value of political discourse. Many people are voicing opinions about this particular content and it has become an important part of the conversation around who the next U.S. president will be. For those reasons, we are carefully reviewing each report and surrounding context relating to this content on a case-by-case basis.”
To test Facebook, Fast Company created a few fake accounts and posted content that simply repeated Trump’s views, including lines like “I totally agree with Donald Trump’s call for banning all Muslims. Keep them out!” When that content was reported, it was removed by Facebook within hours.
This raises an interesting ethical quandary for Facebook. Is the site willing to house content—of any kind—as long as it’s from a notable figure? And does the site prioritize its elite users over regular ones?