Facebook’s Plan to Interfere in the Voice Referendum

14 July 2023

4.1 MINS

A few years ago we were still debating if social media was biased. Now Facebook is proudly interfering in an Australian referendum.

I am old enough to remember when people were genuinely unsure if social media companies were censoring conservatives.

The rumour was out there but it was still an unsettled question.

In mid 2019, I asked that very questionDoes Social Media Censor Conservatives? — and I provided 15 examples suggesting censorship against conservative viewpoints was a real and growing threat.

Even then, I recall friends and critics alike suggesting I was probably just paranoid.

Two years on, I provided hundreds more examples, and still I heard from some quarters that I should keep calm and carry on.

Well in the words of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz fame, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

The Albanese Government’s Ministry of Truth

The Albanese Government announced its plans last month to establish a Ministry of Truth… ahem… to revise Australia’s communications laws.

The proposed Orwellian bill gives the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) unprecedented power to fine social media companies millions of dollars if they fail to censor Australians who question the mainstream narrative on any given topic.

The most dystopian part of the Labor Government’s scheme is that Commonwealth and State governments along with “professional news” outlets will be immune from the autocratic powers, free to post whatever they deem true on any given day.

(Please, use your free speech while you still have it and tell the Albanese Government to put their draft bill in the dustbin of history, where it belongs. Make a submission here).

Meta’s Long History of Leftwing Bias

If that plot isn’t enough to put the wind up you, get a load of this.

Mark Zuckerberg’s director of public policy for Australia, Mia Garlick, is looking forward to “contributing to democracy” during the upcoming Voice referendum.

She told The Guardian that her company Meta — which runs Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and the new Twitter wannabe Threads — “has been preparing for this year’s voice to parliament referendum for a long time, leaning into expertise from previous elections.”

“We have hate speech advisory groups and First Nations advisory groups giving insight and advice on issues they see on the ground,” she added.

As previously reported by the Daily Declaration, the Zuckerberg empire “will provide an undisclosed amount in funding to ‘fact-checkers,’ will provide specialised ‘social media safety training’ to MPs and advocacy groups, and will block fake accounts in its bid to, “combat misinformation, voter interference and other forms of abuse on our platforms.”

If you’re wondering whether accounts run by concerned citizens supporting the “No” vote could be targeted, consider the Hamilton 68 dashboard scandal in which real-life Trump supporters were labelled as Russian bots that generated fake news on a global scale. Or consider how Facebook censored accounts that shared accurate reporting about the incriminating content found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, and in doing so influenced the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election.

The political bias of Facebook and its parent company Meta is now extremely well documented.

Mark Zuckerberg has even admitted that Meta censored information during the Covid era that turned out to be correct. He explained that towards the beginning of the pandemic especially, “there hadn’t been time to fully vet a bunch of the scientific assumptions and unfortunately I think a lot of the establishment on that waffled on a bunch of facts and asked for a bunch of things to be censored that in retrospect ended up being more debatable or true”.

Funding ‘Fact Checkers’ that Publish False Facts

Facebook’s funding of so-called ‘fact checkers’ to vet the Voice debate is just as concerning as the platform’s direct interference.

Facebook has already admitted in court that its ‘fact checks’ are merely opinion (which we know overwhelmingly lean left) and are therefore protected opinions under the First Amendment.

Moreover, the Australian ‘fact checkers’ Meta plans to fund are already on record for publishing false claims as ‘facts’.

As highlighted by independent journalist Rebekah Barnett, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) claimed the Australian Government did not try to hide true stories of people injured by Covid injections. But an FOI request revealed that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) did just that, hiding child death reports following the injection. Their justification? The disclosure “could undermine public confidence”.

RMIT’s ‘fact checking’ unit is another that will be funded by Meta during the Voice debate. They too published false claims as ‘facts’ — including that Covid injections don’t affect women’s menstruation (now proven true), and that “evidence overwhelmingly shows that masks and lockdowns do work” (despite a mountain of peer-reviewed studies to the contrary).

‘Fortifying’ the Voice Referendum

Make no mistake: Facebook’s plan to weigh in on the Voice referendum is not merely to ensure a fair and honest debate, but to tip the scales in a Yes-ward direction. To think otherwise would be as naive as believing an abusive ex-partner had mended their ways.

For his part, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be over the moon with Meta’s plan — if indeed he wasn’t directly involved in the decision.

Speaking during Question Time last November, Mr Albanese claimed “there’s been a lot of misinformation already out there” about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Talk about belling the cat.

It all sounds eerily like that infamous 2020 Time article — ‘The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election’ — which boasted about the role unelected bureaucrats and Big Tech giants played in “fortifying” democracy in Joe Biden’s favour.

“There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes,” Time admitted, “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information”. But of course, “they were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it”.

Then as now, “fact checkers” and social media companies played an indispensable role in opposing what they deemed ‘disinformation’.

As the last few years have shown, ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ are code words for news and opinions that people with power find inconvenient and wish to silence.

And it’s a label those same powerful people will never apply to their own false or disproven claims.

Don’t fall for the trickery. Speak up while you still can.

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One Comment

  1. Pearl Miller 17 July 2023 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I attended a freedom rally last week….we were encouraged to “speak up while we still can”. Glad I was there.

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