In May 2018, Facebook partnered with Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab to censor information on social media, while claiming to protect the integrity of US elections.
The partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council to fight fake news has resulted in the censorship of anti-establishment narratives. The Atlantic Council is a Washington, DC-based think tank with strong military ties. It receives significant sponsorship from major corporate entities, US intelligence agencies, and foreign governments, and is understood by many as a lobbying group for NATO. The criteria for how the Atlantic Council categorizes fake news or misinformation remain undisclosed as Facebook continues to close hundreds of mostly left-wing Facebook pages and accounts. The partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council has also discredited numerous progressive and independent media outlets by identifying them as serving “foreign interference.”
The corporate media has failed to investigate the interests of the parties involved in the partnership. CNN, Fox News, and NBC News provide very basic information without analyzing the deeper implications of the story they are reporting. Some articles question the accuracy of the operation; however, none of them depict the events as censorship that undermines our democratic rights. Independent news outlets, including Common Dreams, Mint Press News, and Global Research, address the real issue: Powerful factions are working to control the flow of information to best reflect their interests.
Elliot Gabriel, “Facebook Partners with Hawkish Atlantic Council, a NATO Lobby Group, to Protect Democracy,” Mint Press News, May 22, 2018, https://www.mintpressnews.com/facebook-partners-hawkish-atlantic-council-nato-lobby-group-protect-democracy/242289/.
Jake Johnson, “Alarming: Facebook Teams Up with Think-Tank Funded by Saudi Arabia and Military Contractors to ‘Protect’ Democracy,” Common Dreams, May 18, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/18/alarming-facebook-teams-think-tank-funded-saudi-arabia-and-military-contractors.
Johnathan Sigrist, “Facebook Censorship and the Atlantic Council,” Global Research, October 14, 2018, https://www.globalresearch.ca/facebook-censorship-and-the-atlantic-council/5656896.
Kevin Reed, “Facebook’s Partnership with the Atlantic Council,” World Socialist Web Site, September 8, 2018, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/08/atla-s08.html.
Student Researcher: Mikhaela Alcasabas (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)