Facebook locked University of Toronto professor Jordan B. Peterson out of his account Sunday, reported The Daily Caller News Foundation. The company demanded he upload a photo ID, which Peterson did twice, to no avail.
“Perhaps Facebook is only being careful about fraud, in my case,” the professor said. “But they are handling the issue in a very opaque manner and, because of their other censorial actions, it is impossible not to be instantly suspicious.”
And that’s a fair point. Conservatives discovered Facebook deprioritizing right-of-center news a couple years ago during the presidential election and Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t backed down, admitting a few days ago that Facebook will manipulate its algorithm to show what he calls more trusted publications like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times more often than others. The company wants control over not just what you consume, but also what you produce, censoring completely innocuous content like this lady with stereotypical Mexican props.
And remember, it’s not just Facebook. “The actions of the Big Three (Google, YouTube, Facebook) invoke justifiable paranoia,” Peterson told me. “They do produce crooked, manipulative algorithms, driven by an explicitly political agenda. They continually demonetize arbitrarily and harshly (most recently with Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro and I). They do shut people down (as YouTube/Google clearly did to me last year), with little explanation, and they constantly gerrymander their curated content.”
In August, Google temporarily banned Peterson from accessing both his Gmail — which the professor claimed contained hundreds of thousands of emails — AND his YouTube, which had 350,000 subscribers. “We understand you’ve recently been unable to access your Google account, and we appreciate you contacting us,” said Google when Peterson reached out. “After review, your account is not eligible to be reinstated due to a violation of our Terms of Service.” Google never said which term he violated, but unbanned him shortly after the media got a hold of it. Facebook did the same thing Sunday.
Remember when I said Peterson had 350,000 YouTube subscribers six months ago? Well, that number has since more than doubled. Anti-leftist voices are gaining prominence, particularly when they come from places dominated by the left, like academia. But whether it’s violent protests, arbitrary speaking fees, industry blacklists, shady algorithms, or outright banning, the left still has the power to silence even the most fearless and resourceful anti-establishment figures.