The social media giant has banned a Danish news outlet critical of the EU, immigration and mainstream media two times in a single day. The blackout occurred after a state broadcaster blew the whistle ahead of looming general elections.
The Danish alternative news outlet 24Nyt has had its Facebook page with over 34,000 followers closed. State-owned Danish Radio (DR) has acknowledged its role in the shutdown.
According to 24Nyt, Facebook announced that its page “doesn’t follow Facebook’s policy”, which is the standard message for users and organisations who have their profiles switched off. “It is known that people and media critical of immigration are exposed to Facebook’s censorship”, 24Nyt suggested.
The same day, 24Nyt started a new Facebook page that was also subsequently shut down.
Later, state-run Danish Radio acknowledged its part in the shutdown of their independent competitor.
A week ago, DR contacted Facebook and presented a dossier of 24Nyt’s actions on their platform, triggering an investigation. Facebook later confirmed that 24Nyt’s page had been closed with info from that exact investigation, but without disclosing the reason.
Danish Radio described 24Nyt as a page “that urged to fight against established media and left-wing bias”. Danish Radio also admitted that over the past two years, 24Nyt had had a “significant impact” on Facebook, which is now “over”.
Social media expert Johan Farkas of Malmö University called the measure “extraordinary”.
“It is highly unusual that Facebook throws out a Danish media. As far as I know, this is a first”, Farkas said.
24Nyt was banned from Facebook only weeks or months before the Danish election, which is to be held no later than June this year.
“We have discovered that Facebook chose to close our site. Immediately afterwards, I was called by a journalist from Danish Radio. He wanted to know if I knew what the basis for Facebook’s decision was. I didn’t. Shortly afterwards, DR published an article on his website where they wrote that Facebook closed us down based on the material they received from them. We believe that this is very problematic, of course, because DR is a tax-financed media that does not have the task of silencing independent network media, or otherwise engaging in political activism”, 24Nyt’s editor-in-chief André Rossmann told the Swedish news outlet Samhällsnytt.
24Nyt is was founded in 2017 by Jeppe Juhl of the New Right party. The site is run by private enthusiasts and is funded by advertising revenues and donations. 24Nyt makes no secret that they are an opinion-based media. It bills itself as a “system-critical online newspaper with ‘dangerous opinions’ opposed to mainstream media”. Admittedly, they attempt “through strong opinions to open up the social debate trapped in an echo-chamber”. Their website informs that they are against “open EU borders and Muslim mass immigration”, “Islamisation of Danish society”, “totalitarian EU”, and “political correctness”.
Leading tech companies have been repeatedly accused of quietly suppressing conservative political views. Earlier this week, Republican lawmakers publicly accused the “big three” (Facebook, Google, Twitter ) of political bias and suppression of free speech. The way Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) put it, tech companies abuse their de-facto monopoly to promote left-leaning values.
Dozens of alt-media pages with millions of subscribers, including InfoWars and the Free Thought Project were previously banned from Facebook.
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