Recently, Project Veritas unveiled a video aimed at exposing left-wing bias in Facebook: “Facebook Content Moderator: ‘If Someone’s Wearing MAGA Hat, I’m Going to Delete Them for Terrorism.'”
Now, another whistleblower has come forward, this time from the office of Cognizant (which performs content moderation for Facebook) in Arizona.
Ryan Hartwig, the latest whistleblower, has corroborated the findings documented by earlier whistleblower Zach McElroy.
Hartwig was an employee at Cognizant and agreed to talk to Newsmax about his experiences.
His decision to go public began with a requirement from his employer to “link our personal Facebook accounts” – this seemed odd to him.
Another push to blow the whistle on Cognizant was “the banning of the word ‘nationalist,'” which Hartwig saw when the company censored a group of conservatives posting about a bookstore after the New Zealand shooting.
The people were not white nationalists, he told us; they were just nationalists.
From this experience, Hartwig concluded what he was dealing with was censorship that was international and is only describable as “election meddling.”
He is currently running a GoFundMe.
And you can keep up to date with his story on Twitter.
Hartwig initially did not see any blatant censorship when he was assigned the Hispanic monitoring, which monitors posts only in Spanish. However, he discovered, on his first assignment, during the Mexican presidential election in 2018, Cognizant deleted a lot more posts that were negatively ridiculing current president Andres Obrador’s son.
The younger Obrador is roughly the same age as President Donald Trump’s youngest son, Barron, “and people were making fun of Obrador’s son’s hair and calling him ‘chocolate flan’ because of a white streak that runs in his hair.”
Hartwig eventually gave in to the requests to censor those memes and posts.
As to whether or not moderators adhere to company policy or apply their own judgment, Hartwig stated moderators “make sure to look in the policy to double-check. It is a lot of research – kind of like being a paralegal, I would say.”
The critical question is how much deference company managers would give to a specific moderator’s judgment regarding a “problematic post,” Hartwig explained.
“If you think you can get away with it and make an argument for taking [a post down], then your manager will usually just defer to the moderator,” he said.
Hartwig went on to offer a detailed explanation of how a moderator typically decides to take down any given post. In his words, “we see roughly the same lewd or indecent kinds of posts all of the time, but if it is a meme that refers to a political figure, you’re supposed to fall back on the policy, and that part requires you be up-to-date on current events.”
However, he quickly added, “there’s enough wiggle room in the policy to get away with [censoring a benign political post].”
The most damning evidence offered was when Hartwig stated, on the list of banned “offensive” words that would typically arise from politically motivated posts or memes, there exists a “slang list of political expressions that were allowed and banned.”
One could call a conservative politician a “Nazi,” but cannot call a feminist a “feminazi.” There is another term, “Trumphumper” that is protected, but you cannot call a liberal a “snowflake.”
These exceptions were granted by labeling the O.K.’d content as “exaggerated speech,” even if it is “ideological bullying” — defined as “bullying somebody based purely on their ideological beliefs.”
Under these circumstances, according to Hartwig, a moderator would normally delete that post under the title “attacking someone from a negative character claim.” It is an umbrella term to apply to attacks on a person’s appearance, beliefs, etc.
Simply put, one’s post will be deleted if he calls someone “ugly,” but will not be if he calls the person a “Trumphumper.”
The notion Facebook would “educate” and “inform” staffers on Capitol Hill in D.C. was supplied additionally by a tip from an anonymous source.
All of this comes at a time the legal protections for technological titans such as Facebook known as “Section 230” are being reviewed and possibly reassessed.
Based on the latest and very consistent news reports, these corporate giants have de-platformed and silenced conservative voices consistently on more than one occasion and platform.
Hartwig strongly echoes the thoughts of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in proposing “these companies should be put under antitrust investigation.”
As the contempt from conservatives against “Big Tech” continues to mount, Trump appears ready to take action. When he does and what he does will be a defining moment in the world of cyberspace politics.
Michael Cozzi is a Ph.D candidate at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
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