Facebook has blocked stories in two news outlets, the New York Post and [U.K.] Daily Mail, about Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ high-end home buys, prompting allegations of censorship and bias.
The platform barred users Thursday from sharing an April 10 Post article detailing Ms. Cullors’ “real estate buying binge,” including a $1.4 million home in Los Angeles County’s exclusive Topanga Canyon, for “violating our privacy and personal information policy.”
The Post swung back Friday with editorial blasting the decision as “so arbitrary as to be laughable,” pointing out that photos of celebrity homes are routinely published on Facebook and other platforms.
“The next time People magazine covers Kim Kardashian’s latest mansion purchase, will it violate any community standards? How about running a picture of the resort Ted Cruz is staying at?” asked the editorial. “No, this rule has not been and will not be applied in any fair manner.”
The newspaper said that it had not listed or shown the addresses, or in some cases the cities, of the residential properties bought by Ms. Cullors, which were listed on public real-estate records.
Facebook also prevented the [U.K.] Daily Mail from sharing its story about Ms. Cullors’ “multi-million dollar property empire,” saying that the content violated “our privacy and personal information policy,” according to the newspaper.
“Users that wanted to share links to the DailyMail.com were met with a message that said it ‘couldn’t be shared,’” the Daily Mail said.
The British news outlet added that this was “not the first time that Facebook has censored content from conservative voices.”
Multiple news outlets published stories about Ms. Cullors’ Topanga Canyon purchase, starting with Dirt, which bills itself as “your exclusive source for voyeuristic, tongue-in-cheek celebrity and high-profile real estate news.”
In the past two weeks alone, Dirt has posted on its Facebook page myriad photos of homes bought or sold by entertainment and business figures, including Larry Ellison, Lil Wayne, Dennis Miller, Faye Dunaway, DJ Khaled, Sunny Leone, Jason Mantzoukas, Frank Zarabi and Madonna.
Ms. Cullors, a self-described “trained Marxist,” serves as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which issued a statement Monday saying that the organization had no role in the purchases and that the publicity had put her “in harm’s way.”
“The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization,” the foundation said. “This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists.”
The statement did not dispute the Post’s report that Ms. Cullors has bought four homes since 2016 at a cost of more than $3 million.
The Post famously tangled in October with Facebook and Twitter after the platforms blocked the newspaper’s reporting on emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop. In February 2020, Facebook blocked a column about how the novel coronavirus could have leaked from a Chinese virology lab.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told a Senate panel in November that the decision to lock the Post’s account until the Hunter Biden tweet was removed was “a mistake.” The newspaper never removed the tweet, and Twitter finally unlocked the account after two weeks.
“We were right both times. We’re right this time, too,” the Post editorial said, adding that the episode “again highlights just how much power these social media companies have over our lives, and our nation.”
While social media is filled with what the Post called “wildly inaccurate and hateful content,” tech platforms that claim to be neutral will “step in to censor and cover for Joe Biden. They’ll cover for China. And now they’ll cover for Black Lives Matter.”
Also on Thursday, Twitter banned the account of Project Veritas President James O’Keefe after he posted a series of hidden-camera videos with a CNN technical director who said the network had deliberately targeted former President Trump for defeat.
Mr. O’Keefe said he would file a lawsuit against the platform on Monday. Twitter had previously permanently suspended the accounts of Project Veritas and Project Veritas Action.
“I am suing Twitter for defamation because they said I, James O’Keefe, ‘operated fake accounts.’ This is false, this is defamatory, and they will pay,” Mr. O’Keefe said in a statement.
Project Veritas said a Twitter spokesperson confirmed that Mr. O’Keefe has been permanently suspended “for violating the Twitter Rules on platform manipulation and spam.”
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