Photo Credit: Flickr

{Reposted from the author’s blog}

When Facebook announced that it was banning Holocaust denial on October 12, many people celebrated. The dismissive language and attitudes related to millions of slaughtered Jews during World War II is viewed by many as not only offensive but the foundation for new hate crimes today. As such, the removal of such content and the platform’s limitation on sharing such articles was welcome news for many well-meaning people.

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But censorship is a cruel hack that silences opinions and stories that stray from today’s new strictly-enforced orthodoxies.

This blog has been writing stories consistently for six years covering anti-Semitism, Zionism and American politics. The opinions have taken sharp aim at the liberal press’s criticisms of Israel during that time and was never shy in highlighting the deep anti-Semitism found in the foundational documents of Palestinian society, including the Hamas charter.

The articles have principally been shared on Facebook. Consequently, the platform’s decisions on which articles should be censored due to content – or author – directly impacts the blog’s viewership.

And since the end of September, the readership has suddenly plummeted.

Historically, popular First One Through articles were read by thousands and typical articles were read by several hundred. It was rare to ever have an article be consumed by fewer than 80 people. But over the past three weeks, not a single article has surpassed that total.

The September 25 article on “NY Times Tries Hard to Paint Obama/Biden as Pacifists and Trump as Mercenary” had only 101 views, a very poor showing. Remarkably, that is the highest total since that date. A true story relayed in “Vote Harvesting” got only 76 views even though it is a critical story being discussed today. The numbers have only gotten worse.

Friends found the story on vote harvesting impossible to believe and asked that I take it down since it was fanning distrust in the upcoming elections. It is a sentiment shared by the censors at Facebook. It has seemingly marked the FirstOneThrough blog as dangerous for society and is curtailing its viewership.

The notion that the good guys always win or that truth will always prevail are myths. Emboldening powerful platforms to censor stories it deems unworthy or incompatible with its worldview is toxic to a healthy democratic society.

First they came for my articles but I did not speak up because they did not censor mine…

Related First One Through articles:

Opinions on Facebook

The Press Are Not Guardians of the Galaxy

The Noose and the Nipple

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

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Paul Gherkin is founder of the website FirstOneThrough, which is dedicated to educating people on Israel, the United States, Judaism and science in an entertaining manner so they speak up and take action. In a connected digital world, each person can be a spokesperson by disseminating news to thousands of people by forwarding articles or videos to people, or using the information to fight on behalf of a cause because In a connected digital world. YOU are FirstOneThrough.