Facebook Censors #diedsuddenly Hashtag

by J Pelkey
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Facebook is blocking all searches with the hashtag “#diedsuddenly”, citing that some content in those posts goes against their Community Standards.

When users search for the hashtag, no results are displayed, instead only the following message appears on the screen.

“Keeping our community safe”

“Posts with diedsuddenly are temporarily hidden here. Some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards.”

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Apparently informing the public about the rise in sudden, unexpected, unexplained deaths among young, healthy people goes against their community standards and blocking that information from the American public is considered keeping their community safe.

It is unclear which community standards the hashtag violates, but Facebook has chosen to block ALL posts with the term “died suddenly”, rather than specific posts that they deem “offensive”. This suggests that the mere possibility of people being aware of the rise in sudden deaths is the issue, regardless of the believed cause.

Since the start of COVID-19, Facebook has been protective of the COVID-19 narrative and those who created it.

The blocking of this hashtag is the latest of many examples of Facebook censoring content. Since the start of Covid, Facebook has blocked anti-mask content, anti-lockdown content and content related to the covid-19 origin.

Facebook is not alone. Breaking Digest previously reported that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta/Facebook, admitted that big tech has coordinated its censorship with the Biden administration who pressured the platforms to remove posts that included information about Hunter Biden’s laptop, 2020 election integrity, and COVID-19 (the origin, COVID-19 skepticism, COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, and other related issues).

But even Twitter allows users to search for posts that include the #diedsuddenly hashtag. I guess they aren’t as passionate about keeping their community safe as Meta/Facebook is.

Facebook does, however, allow posts praising the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian Battalion, Azov Battalion, as long as they go against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From the Intercept:

FACEBOOK WILL TEMPORARILY allow its billions of users to praise the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi military unit previously banned from being freely discussed under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, The Intercept has learned.

The policy shift, made this week, is pegged to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and preceding military escalations. The Azov Battalion, which functions as an armed wing of the broader Ukrainian white nationalist Azov movement, began as a volunteer anti-Russia militia before formally joining the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014; the regiment is known for its hardcore right-wing ultranationalism and the neo-Nazi ideology pervasive among its members. Though it has in recent years downplayed its neo-Nazi sympathiesthe group’s affinities are not subtle: Azov soldiers march and train wearing uniforms bearing icons of the Third Reich; its leadership has reportedly courted American alt-right and neo-Nazi elements; and in 2010, the battalion’s first commander and a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, Andriy Biletsky, stated that Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].” With Russian forces reportedly moving rapidly against targets throughout Ukraine, Facebook’s blunt, list-based approach to moderation puts the company in a bind: What happens when a group you’ve deemed too dangerous to freely discuss is defending its country against a full-scale assault?

According to internal policy materials reviewed by The Intercept, Facebook will “allow praise of the Azov Battalion when explicitly and exclusively praising their role in defending Ukraine OR their role as part of the Ukraine’s National Guard.” Internally published examples of speech that Facebook now deems acceptable include “Azov movement volunteers are real heroes, they are a much needed support to our national guard”; “We are under attack. Azov has been courageously defending our town for the last 6 hours”; and “I think Azov is playing a patriotic role during this crisis.”

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