The accusations that Facebook Try to silence conservative voices in the US have made a comeback this week. The reason: the removal of the Instagram account – which is owned by Facebook – of a mother of a soldier killed in the Kabul attack, who harshly criticized Joe Biden. The bottom line of the controversy is the double standard that, according to the conservatives, big technology uses against them, with the most obvious example of the suspension of the accounts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of Donald Trump.
The protagonist of the episode that has reopened the controversy is Shana Chappell, mother of the corporal Kareem Nikoui, 20 years old. He was killed along with 12 other US soldiers and more than 170 Afghans in the suicide attack outside the airport in the Afghan capital last week.
Chappell went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday when the coffins arrived. There was also Biden, who had a meeting with several relatives of the victims.
“I am the one who was ten centimeters from your face and told you that I will never hug my son again,” Chappell wrote in an emotional and furious message on Facebook, in which she assured that the US president treated her with disdain when the victim’s family member told her: “You don’t know how I feel and you have no right to say that you know how I feel.” Biden has a long history of personal tragedies and often remembers them when speaking to victims or family members.
Chappell made his political preferences clear in his message. «You are not the president of the USA!“Cheating is not winning! You are not a leader at all! You are a weak human being and a traitor!” He also assured that if Trump “were in his rightful position, my son and the other heroes would be alive.”
On the same day that this message was published, which spread like wildfire on social networks, especially among the electorate loyal to Trump, Instagram deleted Chappell’s account.
Facebook later said in a statement that Chappell’s critical message that appeared on its social network was not deleted and that the removal of his Instagram account was a “mistake.”
“To the Conservatives”
Trump did not refrain from commenting on the episode and sent a statement in which he defended that Chappell “is one hundred percent right.” He could not do it from his accounts on Facebook or Instagram, after the company decided in June to extend the suspension for two years.
The justification was the “incitement to violence” in the assault on the Capitol by a mob of his followers in January this year. Trump’s suspension – which other networks such as Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat or Twitch also took over – is the most repeated offense by conservatives, who have a love-prayer relationship with these social networks.
“Big tech is going after the conservatives,” Congressman Jim Jordan, one of the most militant Republicans in Congress, said last summer. Social networks, under pressure from Democrats and their own employees, have been more vigilant in removing offensive content, disinformation about voter fraud or information on vaccines, and affecting more conservative users.
The most repeated criticism from conservatives is that Trump has his accounts suspended while dictators or authoritarian rulers around the world use them without problem. But, alongside accusations of censorship, conservative voices are spreading on social media more than anywhere else. Their algorithms tend to benefit the explosive and provocative content of the most extreme media and users. According to an analysis by NewsWhip, the most conservative outlets dominate the activity on Facebook. For example, ‘The Daily Wire’, a medium very close to ‘Trumpism’, had five times more activity on the social network last May than ‘The New York Times’. That same month, the top ten most-shared posts on Facebook were dominated by conservative commenters.