Fact Check: Facebook’s Policy That Its Fact Checkers Can No Longer Check Trump Is Very, Very Bad

from the cowards dept

Quite possibly you heard that former President Donald Trump, who has spent the past two years in delusional denial about the fact that he lost the last election, and who continues to lead a dwindling coterie of equally delusional fans, has now announced his plans to run for re-election in 2024. This was widely expected, even as the Republican Party greatly underperformed during the midterms, with many blaming Trump’s delusions and the ridiculous way in which many candidates felt they needed to go along with those delusions.

Trump, of course, is free to do what he wants, but a few hours before the widely expected announcement, Meta sent around a notice to its fact-checkers that as soon as Trump (who is still banned from Facebook, though that suspension may end shortly) announces his return as a political candidate, that they can no longer fact check him:

The carve-out is not exclusive to Trump and applies to all politicians, but given the rate fact-checkers find themselves dealing with claims made by the former president, a manager on Meta’s “news integrity partnership” team emailed fact-checkers on Tuesday ahead of Trump’s announcement.

“Some of you have reached out seeking guidance regarding fact-checking political speech in anticipation of a potential candidacy announcement from former President Trump,” the Meta staffer wrote in the memo.

The company has long had an exception to its fact-checking policy for politicians.

Yes, this has been a long-term policy at Facebook, but it’s always been a profoundly stupid policy. Meta’s policy boss (and former politician), Nick Clegg, has defended the policy by saying:

We rely on third-party fact-checkers to help reduce the spread of false news and other types of viral misinformation, like memes or manipulated photos and videos. We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny. That’s why Facebook exempts politicians from our third-party fact-checking program. 

It’s not difficult to understand where this policy comes from. The most charitable explanation for it is that political debates are inherently subjective, and people all across the political spectrum get pretty heated about different interpretations of such things, and any attempt to fact check those kinds of debates automatically becomes political, presenting a no-win scenario for Facebook. And therefore, the approach is to say “look, that’s for everyone else to decide; we’re just here letting the marketplace of ideas exist.”

That’s the charitable explanation.

A more realistic explanation, though, is that Meta’s leadership are a bunch of cowards. Choosing not to fact check politicians is inherently a political decision in and of itself. It’s the same sort of nonsense as social media sites that claim “we don’t do any moderation, because we don’t want to be arbiters of truth.” That’s not how any of it works, because users actually rely on these platforms as more than that.

Politicians require fact checking. More than almost anyone else.

And yes, people are always going to get mad at fact checking. They already do. But simply washing your hands of the problem as soon as someone becomes a politician is not some noble gesture. It’s cowardice, and trying to pretend you have no responsibility for anything.

It’s silly.

And, yes, I’m more on the side of believing that the impact of content on social media sites regarding politics is vastly overblown, and that people who think Trump got elected because of Facebook in 2016 are simply wrong. But, even so, if you’re going to have a third party fact checking operation at all, excusing politicians from it seems extraordinarily misguided. Given the context, it’s effectively inviting politicians to blatantly lie and deceive.

Yes, this policy has been in place for years. And it’s always been a bad policy. The company can and should do better. But that would require a backbone, something that Meta’s senior leadership has not shown a history of having when it comes to dealing with politicians.

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Comments on “Fact Check: Facebook’s Policy That Its Fact Checkers Can No Longer Check Trump Is Very, Very Bad”

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Koby (profile) says:

Dont Torch Your Credibility

And yes, people are always going to get mad at fact checking.

It’s worse than getting mad, it’s remembering a bad call. We’ve seen how numerous newspapers blew the call and alienated their customers. Apparently FB is unwilling to repeat this experiment for the benefit of either political party. Don’t make a bad call and cost anyone the election. Large organizations don’t stay large if half of the population resents you. Maintain a neutral point of view.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Guess what.. 1/2 the population will resent them for not fact checking obvious BS.

As was said in the article.. FB leadership are a bunch of cowards. They are not going to fact check the people that can pass all kinds of regulations on how they operate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“our” facts? Facts stand on their own and the fact-checkers workings can themselves be verified.

Perhaps your “facts” are, in truth, opinions – or outright lies.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Maintain a neutral point of view.

Let’s say a politician⁠—doesn’t matter which party they belong to⁠—tells a lie. That the statement is a lie can be easily proven by a quick Google search. Is it “neutral” for someone to say that the politician told a lie, or would that be going too far into “editorializing”? What determines whether saying “this statement is a lie” is a statement of fact or a partisan opinion? When, if ever, should a news source state that a politician’s lie is actually, provably, 100% a lie?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

‘Don’t fact check’ is not neutral at it inherently benefits liars and those willing to lie for their own benefit, while putting those that are honest at a disadvantage since they aren’t just making up whatever benefits them, and while this is problematic enough when applied to members of the general public when it comes to politicians it should be seen as a public duty to call out lies since they have or are looking to get the power to impact the lives of a bunch of people.

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Strawb (profile) says:

Re:

Large organizations don’t stay large if half of the population resents you. Maintain a neutral point of view.

Do you feel the same way about Fox News?

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Koby (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, it would have been better in the long run. But that ship has now sailed. Fortunately for them, they’re only resented by the 25% extreme left portion of the citizenry, so they’re crushing it in the ratings. But their fair and balanced strategy from yesteryear was key them getting off the ground, and could have continued into the future.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

their fair and balanced strategy from yesteryear

They were never fair and balanced. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I was actually always very much a fan of the leftwing voices on fox like Juan Williams, before he went off the deepened. They were incredibly intelligent and good debaters, with the exception of Alan Colmes who was a stupid douche intended to make Sean Hannity look intelligent which is no easy task.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Imagine being so far to the right you think the Fox News of the 90s and early 2000s that had thoroughly demented rightwingers like Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck was anywhere near the center of politics and dedicated to being fair and balanced.

I grew up with Rupert Murdoch’s poisonous right wing shtheaddery destroying the press in my country and have lived with the consequences of the policies he’s bullied and outright blackmailed politicians into enacting, nothing he has ever been involved with has ever been anything close to fair and balanced. The only time he ever backed anything close to a left winger was a neoliberal future war criminal and that was only because the people he wanted in power had fcked up so badly they were going to lose in spite of his best efforts and he didn’t want to be seen as backing a loser.

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David says:

Re: Factcheckers are biased against lying

Our scientific discourse works by constant factchecking and trust in authorities and institutions and permanent pressure to work truthfully. That is the only way to guarantee progress of distributed knowledge.

Why is it that deterioration of distributed knowledge is a protected element of politics in a democracy, where decisions affecting everyone are made on behalf of everyone and with everyone being the stakeholder?

Politicians get to wield power on behalf of their constituents. If that does not provide the strongest reason for making sure that they are held to the truth in democratic systems, somebody has not understood the principal point of democracy.

And the most general and powerful mechanism for consensus-forming are media.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why is it that deterioration of distributed knowledge is a protected element of politics in a democracy

It generally isn’t, which is why you largely see conservatives/right-wingers whining about fact checks: They don’t like outside expertise and distributed knowledge trying to burst their insular media/knowledge bubble. Incidentally, that also applies to a shitload of religious sects⁠—like, say, the kinds of conservative Christian sects that closely align themselves with conservative politicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

And Facebook accepted money from “conservative sources” to let VACCINE DISINFORMATION, ANTISEMITISM AND (WHITE) TERRORISM PROMOTION through.

What does that tell you about Facebook? That they want this sort of shit into their ecosystem? Don’t answer, you NeoNazi traitor, your answer is yes.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“Don’t make a bad call and cost anyone the election”

So, you cowards think that the answer to that is to not make any call and let the fraud run rampant?

“Large organizations don’t stay large if half of the population resents you”

Seems to be working for Fox and the other fiction peddlers you seem to get your information from, sadly.

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Gene Platt says:

That's not how it works

So, I’m a teacher. If I take the position of refusing to check to see if my students are cheating, and I tell my boss, “I’m simply not taking a position on whether cheating is being committed”, I’m going to get run through the ringer and held out by the MAGAs as an example of why public education is dying.

I think it’s reasonable that we hold candidates to the Presidency to the same basic standard that I expect a 15 year old to follow.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Small correction, you will be praised by all those MAGAs who cheat their way to passing grade.

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Koby (profile) says:

Re:

Teachers are placed in a position of authority by the parents themselves through the school board. FB understands they have no such authority, particularly over the subject of political disputes.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Does it concern you that politicians are making decisions bases on a fictional views of the world?

David says:

Re: Re:

Being a politician tends to correlate with some measure of smartness (yes, this is not absolute).

The most dangerous politicians are not those “making decisions bases on a fictional views of the world” but those selling decisions based on fictional views of the world.

And it is those who really need to get reined in by fact-checking. It is not clear what this implies in terms of legal responsibility of social media. The problem is that social media discourse is a powerful aggregator of power to influence people but there isn’t a similar go-to point of formal responsibility as with editorial media content.

So yes, this is a modern problem wanting answers. But half of the politicians are more interested in enabling misuse of a tool of power (and getting money out of it in some manner) rather than enabling it to become a responsive, responsible and reliable part of a robust public intercourse.

Strawb (profile) says:

Re:

FB understands they have no such authority, particularly over the subject of political disputes.

“Political dispute” would be something like two people disagreeing on the pros and cons of their respective ideologies.

A politician spreading misinformation or straight-up lying is absolutely something Facebook should have authority over on their platform.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Koby doesn’t cry wolf in the sense of the parable, where that when there is a wolf nobody believes him because he lied too many times.

It’s more like he’s crying dragon – they don’t exist, so he’s never going to be correct. His arguments are so wrong, he can’t even stumble across being correct accidentally.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Which is Why Factchecking is Joke

The misuses of the flag feature on this blog is a parelel to why factchecking is more and more ignored. No one gives a shit anymore if a post is hidden 95% of the traffic on this joke of a blog are responses to flagged posts.

If Mike had an ounce of integrity he would scrap the feature. But we know mike is too busy looking for the next dick to suck as his funding is drying up. All of big tech is going lean and he is a parasite that lives off of big tech fat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The problem is not the use of the flag button, it is people like you who hang on where they are not welcome because they think, incorrectly, that they are entitled to join in every conversation to push their politics.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Me Kolby or someone else. All of the comments on this parasitic big tech funded astroturf blog are responses to flagged posts. You are too stupid to notice.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Only because you pollute the damn place with your toxic verbiage.

And then start calling people names, threaten them and whatnot.

You’re no driver of conversation; you’re a fucking mass polluter.

Seriously, just fucking die already.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

“The most replies are to flagged posts.”

So, you’re lying when you say that flagging posts is censorship? Noted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8

He’s ALWAYS been lying.

He’s lied about everything including his birth, origins, his job and his sexual orientation.

No matter how much he fucking screams otherwise. Just like the orange NeoNazi in Chief he loves.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

There would be no comments here if it wasn’t for people like me.

We’re willing to take that chance. Really we’ll be fine if you decide to bugger off, but your concern is touching.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“The misuses of the flag feature”

There’s no misuse. It clearly states that it’s used to report trolls as well as spam.

“this joke of a blog”

…which you insist on using on a regular basis.

“95% of the traffic on this joke of a blog are responses to flagged posts”

Therefore, flagging makes no difference as to whether people can read or respond to you? So, why is it a problem?

“All of big tech is going lean and he is a parasite that lives off of big tech fat.”

You just admitted you drive traffic to his site. I’m sure he’ll thank you for enabling him to gather funding, if you’re correct (you’re not, but…).

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Anonymous Coward says:

Worth noting that Trump made at least 20 false and misleading claims in his announcement speech according to to CNN.

Fact checkers should be free to check anything a politician says or writes even if the politician and their supports are not going to like it. Truth matters and trying to stay “neutral” is not an option. It just lets bullshit, lies and falsehoods propagate.

ThatOtherOtherGuy says:

It should be fun...

…to see what Trump posts on Facebook the week of the Republican primaries about his fellow Republican presidential candidates.

If DeSantis doesn’t run, it will be exactly because he is afraid of this.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Good Policy

The speech platform should not be in the business of policing truth. If independent fact checkers want to post comments or analysis that claim a statement is false, that’s a much better way to proceed. Otherwise, what happens inevitably is that the biases of the platform controllers leak through into the supposed checking, and only the speech they dislike is silenced.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

what happens inevitably is that the biases of the platform controllers leak through into the supposed checking

Facebook and Twitter have both provably given great leeway to conservative politicians and high-profile right-wing personalities, such that they let those users break the rules constantly. If fact-checking is a road to partisan bias, Facebook and Twitter walked down the path on the right.

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John85851 (profile) says:

Normalizing Trump

The problem with Facebook not fact-checking is the same problem we’ve had for the past 6-7 years: by treating Trump’s lies as “it’s just politics”, we’ve come to normalize his behavior.
Even after all the lies he’s told, including convincing most Republicans that he won the 2020 election, Facebook still takes the stance that he should be fact-checked.
I would think encouraging an insurrection and getting impeached for it would be EXACTLY why his every statement should be fact-checked.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

I would think encouraging an insurrection and getting impeached for it would be EXACTLY why his every statement should be fact-checked.

And yet, here we are, with Facebook possibly on the verge of undoing Trump’s ban and willing to give his lies the full weight of credibility that comes from those lies not being called lies.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

Even after all the lies he’s told, including convincing most Republicans that he won the 2020 election, Facebook still takes the stance that he should be fact-checked.

Minor but very important typo/correction: Their position is the exact opposite of that, that he(or any other politician) shouldn’t be fact checked, and should instead be allowed to lie with impunity.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Now now, saying Donald Trump ate a child would be defamatory. But asking whether Donald Trump ate a child…well, that’s asking an important question⁠—and as every conservative who’s ever used the phrase can tell you, there’s nothing wrong with Just Asking Questions.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: The personsification of 'How am I supposed to parody THAT?!'

The problem with lying about Trump is threefold:

1) How the hell do you come up with a lie that’s worse than what he actually says/does?

2) Even if you did manage the previous anyone still supporting him would just shrug it off as ‘fake news’ or be perfectly fine with it since it’s a republican/their Dear Leader doing/saying it and that’s all that’s needed to turn the most heinous act into no big deal.

3) While it certainly wouldn’t stop them from claiming ‘fake news’ to anything and everything that contradicts his claims at the time if it’s known that a source is willing to lie about him it makes it easier for him/his cult to dismiss credible claims that people outside the cult might have otherwise have believed.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How the hell do you come up with a lie that’s worse than what he actually says/does?

Seriously, we’re talking about a guy who once said he would date one of his daughters if she weren’t related to her and once pondered what his then-one-year-old daughter’s breasts might look like when she grew up. No one can make up that would match or exceed Trump’s actual bullshit.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Seriously, we’re talking about a guy who once said he would date one of his daughters if she weren’t related to her and once pondered what his then-one-year-old daughter’s breasts might look like when she grew up.

Just once that we know about for sure.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

Lol, of course not. What in the political climate of the last couple of decades leads you to believe that these people apply rules equally. The next 2 years are going to be full of people holding hearings about what they imagine might have been on Hunter Biden’s laptop, while claiming that the classified documents known to have been stolen by Trump don’t matter, even if (probably, when) it’s proven that he knowingly gave copies to the Saudis in return for Jared’s $2 billion.

We’re talking about people who claim that the handful of US casualties in Benghazi should still lead to Hillary being executed, while the thousands killed every day by COVID shouldn’t negatively reflect on Trump. They have very different standards.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Either do it for everyone or don't do it at all

Because if one group above every other should be immune from being fact checked clearly it’s the people who have or are looking to have the power to pass laws impacting hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of people and where it might be just a titch important for people to know when they are lying through their teeth.

Either fact checking matters in which case do it for all of your users but especially those in/trying to attain positions where they can impact huge numbers of people or it doesn’t matter in which case don’t do it for any of them. Fact checking everyone but politicians is just naked cowardice, refusing to even try to hold liars accountable just because they might throw a fit that someone called them out on a lie and it might negatively impact the company.

Anonymous Coward says:

If some politician were to say something along the lines of “Eat yellow snow, it’s good for you”, would Facebook say it’s not fact-checkable political speech, or would they say it’s fact-checkable health disinformation? I say they better make up their minds now, before a spate of lawsuits come knocking on their door. After all, Frank Zappa did give them prior warning:

Watch you out where the Huskies go,
Don’t you eat that yellow snow.

sumgai

Pixelation says:

I have to disagree. At this point, anyone that believes Trump is going to believe him no matter what. Blocking what he says just empowers the ignorant. They’ll say it’s a conspiracy. He’s hung himself from his own petard and even the faithful are abandoning him. Let him rant. Even better, don’t write any articles about him. I know it’s hard to resist.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re:

The point isn’t to sway his cultist as at this point anyone still in his camp is almost certainly a lost cause, the point is to make it harder for any of them to hook someone else in who might not realize just how much of a liar he is and to what extent. ‘You should listen to this guy, he’s got some great ideas’ makes for a somewhat harder sell when the platform they’re posting on is showing how damn near every sentence(if not more frequently) they say is a lie and/or misleading.

(Raking the platform over the coals for their hypocritical and cowardly stance when it comes to politicians and fact-checking is also worth covering, but that’s more of a general issue.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

So just murder the 73 million, their leaders and financial backers?

No one has the stomach for that, even me, and even I think it’s not possible to actually not give them any attention, because I know for sure they’ll fucking try to catch OUR attention.

They already want to flood the House with bullshit charges and false impeachment calls. They already ARE trying to get a ton of performative attention AND NOT CALLING THEM OUT FOR IT IS GONNA HURT DEMOCRACY IN THE LONG RUN.

That’s how you get a repeat of 2016.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Is this the same Facebook that hid any stories on the Hunter Biden laptop before the election because the FBI came to them and said it was “Russian propaganda”?

That same laptop that was (after the suppression allowed Biden to win) proved to be real and NOT Russian propaganda?

That Facebook?

They sure look to be in the back pocket of Republicans!

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Is this the same Facebook that hid any stories on the Hunter Biden laptop before the election because the FBI came to them and said it was “Russian propaganda”?

No, because as far as I know, they never even “hid” the link to the New York Post story that started this whole bullshit. And the FBI mentioned generalized bullshit stories to Facebook and Twitter, not a specific story about a specific person and a specific item containing specific information. And even then, the FBI didn’t say “delete it or else”, they basically said “hey, heads up, you guys might see some bullshit, y’all handle it how y’all wanna”.

That same laptop that was (after the suppression allowed Biden to win) proved to be real and NOT Russian propaganda?

Yeah, uh, two things.

  1. If you think the lack of major press surrounding the laptop story is what gave Biden the win in 2020, you’re fucking delusional.
  2. Even if the laptop itself was a real thing that existed, the chain of custody was so thoroughly demolished that no one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the laptop actually belonged to Hunter Biden.

They sure look to be in the back pocket of Republicans!

They let Donald Trump spread his bullshit unabated until he became too much of a liability. Their “don’t fact check any politicians” policy is far more helpful to Republican politicians in the wake of Trump’s massive amount of lying and the GOP’s massive amount of trying to lie as easily and as boldly as Trump. (Yes, Dems lie, but not like Republicans lie.) If Facebook has a political bias, it is conservative, and I haven’t seen anything to suggest otherwise beyond a bunch of conjecture about liberals and Jewish people.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: As a certain party loved to say, 'He lost, get over it'

If you think the lack of major press surrounding the laptop story is what gave Biden the win in 2020, you’re fucking delusional.

I’m not sure if it’s more pathetic or humorous(it’s certainly both) that even now there are people trying to argue that a story that got massively more attention due to social media platforms not wanting to host links to it and ‘only’ being available at the source(which again got more attention due to social media’s reaction to it) had some huge impact on the election such that that was a major factor in why Trump got millions less votes than his opponent the second time in a row.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yep, for a story that was censored to the degree to which the laptop story was, a whole lot of people seemed to know about it. Perhaps if the blind guy who found it turned it in to the FBI rather than Rudy Giuliani, people might not have thought it was bullshit.

But there needed to be a scapegoat for Trump getting the beating that he did. Never mind the 400,000 dead Americans from that hoax China virus that was just like the flu, if it even existed in the first place, right? It must’ve been the Hunter’s laptop story not being widely reported enough.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

“Perhaps if the blind guy who found it turned it in to the FBI rather than Rudy Giuliani, people might not have thought it was bullshit.”

He did turn it into the FBI. The FBI took the laptop and threatened him to be quiet.

“John Paul Mac Isaac said two federal agents came to his Mac Shop in Wilmington, Del. in December 2019 to recoup the laptop following a subpoena, he details in his new book “American Injustice: My Battle to Expose the Truth.”

The repairman, who had volunteered to hand the laptop over to the feds two months earlier, said the alleged threat came after he made a joke, telling them: “Hey, lads, I’ll remember to change your names when I write the book.”

“Agent Wilson kept walking but Agent DeMeo paused and turned to face me,” Paul Mac writes of the encounter.

Isaac said the agent then told him: “It is our experience that nothing ever happens to people that don’t talk about these things.””

https://nypost.com/2022/08/11/hunter-biden-laptop-repairman-says-fbi-threatened-him-to-stay-silent/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

The Post reported that before Mac Isaac gave the laptop and hard drive to the FBI, he “made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.”

One might ask whether or not the laptop could even be considered evidence given some blind guy making a copy under dubious (if any) forensic standards.

I digress, though. Forensic standards and chain of custody doesn’t apply when righteous indignation is involved.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

“John Paul Mac Isaac said two federal agents came to his Mac Shop in Wilmington, Del. in December 2019 to recoup the laptop following a subpoena, he details in his new book “American Injustice: My Battle to Expose the Truth.””

Yeah, you do know that people trying to sell books on the back of public exposure don’t always tell the truth, right?

Even if he is, there’s still a lot of questions unanswered, and nothing about this whole story makes a lick of sense outside of the idea that it was a Hail Mary move cooked up by the geniuses behind the Four Seasons press conference to try a rerun of the Clinton mail server stuff that may have swung the previous election.

But, “guy who stands to make a lot of money by lying to the Murdoch media outrage machine” doesn’t necessarily represent a reliable source, unless there’ corroborating evidence, or at least an explanation for the completely outlandish initial claims.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“And the FBI mentioned generalized bullshit stories to Facebook and Twitter, not a specific story about a specific person and a specific item containing specific information.”

That’s what Zuckerberg said to Rogan. We have no idea what the FBI and Facebook actually discussed because both the FBI and Facebook are fighting FOIA on those specific communications to the death. Hey if Zuckerberg told the whole truth why is the FBI/FB refusing to release the actual communications?

“In an August 2022 FOIA request, AFL originally requested that the FBI make public its communications with Facebook between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15 2020. In a response last week, the FBI called AFL’s FOIA request “overly broad” and did not provide the information requested. As a result, AFL moved forward with filing a lawsuit to receive the communications.”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fbi-sued-alleged-failure-provide-communications-big-tech-regarding-hunter-biden-laptop-censorship

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Also Not What FEC Said

“And the FBI mentioned generalized bullshit stories to Facebook and Twitter, not a specific story about a specific person and a specific item containing specific information.”

What Zuckerberg told Rogan is not what Twitter told the FEC in 2021.

“Federal law enforcement agencies apparently communicated to Twitter that they expected hack-and-leak operations by state actors might occur in the period shortly before the 2020 presidential election and warned that such a hack-and-leak operation might involve Hunter Biden.”

So according to what Twitter told the FEC in 2021 the FBI was specifically warning them about “hack-and-leak” material specifically inmoving Hunter Biden.

I have a feeling Zuckerberg didn’t tell Rogan the whole truth. Lying to Joe Rogan is one thing, lying to the FEC is another.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Even if the laptop itself was a real thing that existed, the chain of custody was so thoroughly demolished that no one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the laptop actually belonged to Hunter Biden.”

Please show where the chain of custody is broken.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let’s start with the fact that it was out of his possession for 3 years now.

Let’s add to that the data was sloppily handled by blind mac and the other ‘cyber experts’ involved with it, such that the information that was released was an unverifiable copy. Remember that. It’s a copy, that was made somehow, and anyone who works with this stuff regularly can tell you, that’s how you get evidence thrown out.

Had that been handled correctly, perhaps the story would’ve turned out differently. But that’s what happens when you have technically illiterate morons pretending to cyber.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Chain of Custody

As is usually the case when law intersects politics leftwing pundits are overstating/misstating the law. Chain of custody suggests but does not require an unbroken chain of custody be established.

Chain of custody does not mean the evidence has to be in hands of law enforcement the entire time. That is a lie political pundits have pushed on morons like Stephen. I’m reminded of Mike’s idiotic interpretation of a simple protective order.

The chain of custody is

Mac Isaac (Repair Shop) -> Robert Costello (Rudy’s Lawyer) -> Rudy Giuliani -> Emma-Jo Morris (NYP)

The is no break in the chain of custody which is legally all it means as an evidentiary matter.

People like Stephan who say ‘no chain of custody’ are just legal fucking dipshits spouting jargon they don’t even understand.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Take it from someone who works in this field – you’re full of shit, and no amount of blabbering about engineering degrees is going to change that.

Hunter Biden was the owner of the laptop. Let’s start there, for sake of argument. It won’t matter at the end.

The laptop went to Mac Isaac, where it sat while it was accessed by him, numerous times both during the course of his ‘repair’ and then afterwards to look around and find stuff. During that time (and pay attention here because this is important as fuck), Hunter Biden was not in control of the laptop. Let me repeat – it was out of his physical control.

Now, if Mac Isaac stopped right there, turned the laptop off, called the FBI, and turned it over to them as-is AND (again, pay attention here because this is really fucking important too) what we learned about it from the NYP was from the FBI, I might give a shit.

But that isn’t what happened.

Mac, in his infinite wisdom called both the FBI AND Rudy (of all people) and got him and his lawyer involved in copying the drive before handing it over. (The before part is important, which is why I bolded it.) The same drive that had not been under Hunter Biden’s control since he handed it off to Mac, now has Mac, whoever Mac decided to show it to, Rudy, any of Rudy’s stooges, none of which who are operating in any law enforcement capacity. You mention LE involvement not being a requirement. However, Hunter’s lawyers are sure to point out that Rudy sure had a motive to get involved, and that ain’t going to help their integrity argument.

Now, chain of custody is intended to preserve evidence integrity, right? It’s an auditable trail, so that we know it’s the same thing we started with when it comes time to use as evidence. That’s kinda important, right? If someone can change something after it’s out of your control, that’d probably be bad, no?

Tell me, how can we verify that the drive contents haven’t changed from Mac -> Rudy -> Rudy’s lawyer -> NYP -> FBI? Well that’s the fucking trick here. We can’t.

Why you ask? Probably because Mac never heard of using a write blocker when making a copy. Rookie mistake. He probably couldn’t afford one if he knew what they were anyways.

Given the shitty handling throughout the time Mac put his fingers on it, the copy the NYP has contains different cryptographic hashes than the one the FBI has, and that’s assuming they even have ones to compare in the first place.

Without a pre-copy hash, how would you be able to tell whether or not the drive was modified before Rudy started mucking around with it?

You wouldn’t.

That’s a problem I’m sure Hunter’s lawyers are well aware of and are sure to bring up when any prosecutor decides to be a legal fucking dipshit and use that laptop as a sole source of information.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

And that, folks, is how you dismantle Chozen’s bullshit to the point where he’ll probably post an obscenity-laden tirade before he runs away for a few days to whine about how the mean Techdirt bullies made him cry.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“he runs away for a few days to whine about how the mean Techdirt”

Nope I have a life you loser. I was partying and dancing with beautiful women and men. Had a great time. All the time you were posting here. You are such a god damn loser.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

“I was partying and dancing with beautiful women and men”

VR is great tech isn’t it?

I mean, it’s possible you did that IRL as well, but the ability to relate to reality that you demonstrate seems to suggest otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Crying to his fellow Klansmen counts as a party in his head.

And I’m very sure he’d be kicked out of VRChat, Facebook’s soon to be aborted Metaverse shitshow, Second Life and any massmarket VR platform who MIGHT want to host his lying, NeoNazi ass.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Not A Chain of Custody Arugment

That is not a chain of custody argument. You are arguing that people we know had it in their possession altered it in some way. It’s up to you to prove that.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Fucking PROVE IT! Provide some fucking evidence!

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

It’s not up to me to prove anything. There’s no indictment, I’m not the prosecutor, and I don’t do pro bono work. I’m arguing that it is reasonable to consider that what has been presented about the hard drive to date is likely bullshit, especially given that’s a concern of Mac himself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/12/now-warning-about-hunter-biden-laptop-disinfo-guy-who-leaked-it/

And it’s the prosecutor’s job to prove their evidence is reliable. All the defense has to do is raise reasonable doubt about it, of which there’s plenty. (Just a reminder, the government would be the prosecutor if this goes anywhere, while Hunter would be the defendant – that’s important, so take note!)

Let’s start with a simple one…the drive was compromised when it was admittedly copied before it was handed to the FBI. There’s really nothing to prove when you have a top-notch lawyer like Rudy admitting that they forensically compromised it. He should’ve stayed home drinking and figuring out how to pay off his cousin, but then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I’d suggest reading about the role of the prosecutor versus the defense and what their roles are as far as the burden of proof. That, along with some data forensics might help you appear like something other than a clueless legal dipshit.

And don’t get so mad, buddy! I don’t know who took a shit in your cereal, but you really need to calm your ass down. Maybe some light reading would help.

https://www.techopedia.com/digital-forensics-the-ultimate-guide/2/34721

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Standards of proof moron. The defense has to provide some evidence. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. That doesn’t mean the defense just gets to say its a forgery and present no evidence. Even the Washington Posts experts found no forensic evidence any of the data on the hard drive is a forgery.

“Its possible” is not a valid legal standard you fucking moron.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

No, they can just question Rudy about it and I’m sure he’ll end up incriminating himself, Mac, Trump, and a few other people in the process. That’s what makes him the gift that keeps on giving to the defense.

But this statement is a bit disingenuous, don’t you think?

Even the Washington Posts experts found no forensic evidence any of the data on the hard drive is a forgery.

Let me help you with that statement a bit. You use the word ‘forgery’ – that’s not a requirement, simply a reasonable doubt of authenticity.

Neither found clear evidence of tampering in their examinations, but some of the records that might have helped verify contents were not available for analysis, they said.

That means it couldn’t be conclusively proven to be authentic. Not a good look for evidence if you ask me, but let’s go on…

Among the reasons for the inconclusive findings was sloppy handling of the data, which damaged some records. The experts found the data had been repeatedly accessed and copied by people other than Hunter Biden over nearly three years.

So seems like there was some tampering going on…but let’s go a bit further still, just in case you’re not convinced…

Most of the data obtained by The Post lacks cryptographic features that would help experts make a reliable determination of authenticity, <— see that? Mucho importante!
especially in a case where the original computer and its hard drive are not available for forensic examination. Other factors, such as emails that were only partially downloaded, also stymied the security experts’ efforts to verify content.

So let’s pivot back to this now.

Even the Washington Posts experts found no forensic evidence any of the data on the hard drive is a forgery.

It also has not reliably determined it to be authentic. Assuming the copy the FBI has is in similar shape, I’d say the chance of that drive being entered into evidence is slim to none.

…you fucking moron

About this, are you pissed off that you’re wrong, or is it because someone is pointing it out to you? I get that your ego is bruised but calling me a moron isn’t impressing anybody, nor does it provide any weight to your argument.

You’re out of your lane. You’re better off just walking away.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“You are arguing that people we know had it in their possession altered it in some way. It’s up to you to prove that.”

Not really, but who in their right mind would even accept to official story? Hunter took a laptop into a store on the other side of the country for reasons, the half-blind guy who can’t confirm if he took it there personally forgot about it, then happened to look at it in the run up to an election and decided to inform Rudy Giuliani?

It’s clearly nonsense. Even then, basic data forensics means the burden of proof is elsewhere. I’m still unclear as to exactly what was found on the laptop that’s so relevant to Joe’s presidency (no, “his son liked hookers and blow” is not relevant), but everything on it is in question since it was so clearly handled for so long by hostile actors, and it should be no more admissible than a cop “finding” a baggie of coke under your seat 2 weeks after it was impounded when you got bailed for your original charge.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re:

Is this the same Facebook that hid any stories on the Hunter Biden laptop before the election because the FBI came to them and said it was “Russian propaganda”?

No, this is the real-world facebook, not the meth-world one you see.

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Is this the same Facebook that hid any stories on the Hunter Biden laptop before the election because the FBI came to them and said it was “Russian propaganda”?

Yeah, it’s the same one.

As a matter of fact, they hid it so well that somehow you and every other nut like you knew about it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“That same laptop that was (after the suppression allowed Biden to win) proved to be real and NOT Russian propaganda?”

We seem to have very different concepts of “proof”.

“They sure look to be in the back pocket of Republicans!”

I can, however, link you to many different stories where it’s been proven that they favour right-wing propagandists. I’m sure you’ll reject any factual evidence, but I can certainly point you to it if your Google skills are as poor as your general news intake.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Legal terms you wouldn’t understand. There is burden of proof but there is also standard of proof. Standards of proof change depending on circumstance. This was an issue with Mike’s beyond ignorant post on the protective order in the Veritas case.

He thought protective orders required proof beyond a reasonable doubt because well he is just an MBA.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

“Standards of proof change depending on circumstance”

For example, when it’s known that a device was handed over to a politically motivated bad actor just before an election they hoped to swing with misinformation, the standards of proof regarding the contents of that device become much more stringent than if it had been handed straight to the FBI instead of Rudy.

“proof beyond a reasonable doubt”

Isn’t it the FBI who are claiming that doubt in this case?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

You don’t seem to understand the law, you probably are lying about your engineering chops, and you definitely are lying about everything else you claim to be, other than you undisguised contempt for the law and your beloef in white supremacy.

In short, the most charitable explanation is that you are a soverign citizen, and at worst, a member of the KKK pretending to be a “bicurious Latino”.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Every time your idiotic ass spouts off your standard of proof is proof beyond possibility.”

For idiots who believe the Mike Lindell version of events, sure.

For people who think that entire fields such as data forensics might have a point when they note that allowing a device to be in the hands of a hostile actor for a year damages credibility, no.

As with most things, I’ll side with the people who are experts in their field and not people who think that OANN is a news outlet.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I’m not sure what you’re saying re: Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Are you saying someone hired Hunter as an actor and had him record hundreds of videos of him arguing with prostitutes about the weight of his crack cocaine and his pedophilic ways, and they also hired people to hack into his cohorts’ email accounts so they could send thousands of incriminating emails back and forth to make Hunter look like he’s involved in a vast criminal enterprise? Then they put those videos and emails on his laptop before they turned it over to the FBI?

That sounds like what you’re alleging.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Slow down there, conspiracy theorist!

The only thing we can reasonably infer is that whatever’s in the laptop, it’s likely that all the data has been thoroughly tampered with! Presumably by Rudy Guilani and the treasonous Republicans and the Russians.

Oh, and Hunter Biden is bad with his money. Don’t fuck with the IRS.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I’m not sure what you’re saying re: Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Have you tried using your brain for something other than a repository for crack-fueled conspiracy theories that even Illuminati nutters would laugh at?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Chozen’s kinda pissy, PaulT.

A few comments above he’s showing everyone how little he knows about forensics, chain of custody, burden of proof, and who is responsible for it.

He’s going through some things.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No more than normal. I was taught that ignorance was bliss, but the most impotently angry people I encounter always seem to be the dumbest.

I’ll repeat what I always say – I’m open to evidence to claims that go against my views. But, it has to be actual evidence, not this rubbish.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

No more than normal. I was taught that ignorance was bliss, but the most impotently angry people I encounter always seem to be the dumbest.

A psychiatrist would probably know more but I can’t help but wonder if part of that is those people constantly being told by other people and/or reality ‘No, you’re wrong’ and thanks to a mix of ego and societal conditioning where admitting that you made a mistake/don’t know something is seen as ‘shameful’ they feel forced to double-down on their position, leaving them constantly feeling like they’re on the defense and stressed out as a result.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Too charitable to the troll brigade.

The more reasonable explanation is that they’re mad that “Masnick and his six sockpuppets” dare criticize their treasonous leader and group and are here to pollute the comment section with their garbage.

The kicker is that almost all of them have been kicked off the major progressive and conservative social outlets. And with at least one odious, purple prosing asshole, even the very people who would support their worldview.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can think of many scientifically supported “facts” which are routinely censored for being politically incorrect.

Truth is a great thing but a truthfinder is not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Global warming was suppressed by Big Oil until it became current reality. And Big Oil is still trying to spread FUD about the fucking thing.

Cigarettes are bad for you and we know this since WW2, but Big Tobbacco have routinely quashed and muddied the waters until recently, and are still doing it.

The Kochs, Rupert Murdoch and the rich conservative bastards that fun the Republican treason machine are still at their old tricks and the only thing that will stop them is sadly violence. And no one has the stomach for that level of violence.

I am less sure about Democratic coverups, but most of my examples tend to be conservative in nature.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Fine by me. All they have to do is back that up with evidence of it being true, which is something that I’ve been requesting since 2020.

I’ve seen a lot of innuendo, bloviating in front of cameras that mysteriously changed to “well, we’re not suggesting fraud per se” when under oath, and a certain crackhead pillow salesman trying to pass off random hex code as proof of something that no expert in the field has been able to back up. But, no actual evidence, which would surely be a prerequisite for this being classed as a “fact”.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“I can think of many scientifically supported “facts” which are routinely censored for being politically incorrect.”

Lots of weirdos can imagine all sorts of things.

So… what do you have knocking around in your poorly populated noggin?

Benjamin Jay Barber says:

Campaign Finance

I believe that the central issue, may very well be that it could be portrayed as “a thing of value” which would be subject to campaign finance disclosures, which is something that Facebook wants to avoid.

see e.g. the Washington State penalty levied against Facebook for not disclosing political advertisements.

nasch (profile) says:

Re:

I believe that the central issue, may very well be that it could be portrayed as “a thing of value” which would be subject to campaign finance disclosures, which is something that Facebook wants to avoid.

Surely they would have said so if that were their reason. That would be a very appealing rationale to provide, as it neatly portrays their hands as being pretty well tied, whether they want to do fact checking or not. The fact that they didn’t provide this reason makes me believe that isn’t it. Without even getting into the merits of whether fact checking is a campaign donation.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Insustry Trend

FB also just laid of 11,000 employees. All of BigTech is following Musk’s lead and going lean and going lean quickly factchecking etc. is fat far beyond the core of the business model.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“FB also just laid of 11,000 employees”

They did, the entire industry is going through a period of layoffs after a long period of hiring. The important thing is where those people are being laid off from, they don’t just fire up an RNG.

“All of BigTech is following Musk’s lead ”

Yeah, because they just randomly decided to do this once Musk was forced to follow through with his threat to leverage Tesla and Saudi money to buy Twitter at overinflated prices… and yeah, of course Zuck is just copying Musk and not dealing with global problems and well-documented mismanagement relating certain projects :rolls eyes:

That’s the fun thing about you people. Evidence is staring you in the face, but it’s too complex so you just file behind the latest fascist promising an easy solution.

“going lean quickly factchecking”

Is that why he’s been begging staff to come back, why he managed to disable 2FA, why he managed to enable losses for other companies, etc.? He’s gone “lean” because top engineers called him out after he lied about their work publicly and they dared tell him the truth about how Twitter operates. Not a long term strategy.

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LittleCupcakes says:

I thank the Lord for providing our fallen world with people smarter and more socially powerful than I so that they can tell me what the truth is rather than forcing me to consider the matter, and search for corroboration or debunking.

Screw you Facebook. I simply cannot cope in a world filled with lying politicians. It’s such a terrible burden, and it appears you do not care to affirm me. Where’s my crying pillow?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Y’know…

If a fact-checker pointing out the fact that a politician lied and offering more accurate information is someone’s idea of a Bad Thing™, that says more about that someone than they think.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

1A protects both opinions and factchecking, the latter of which is an opinion, but since we all know the troll brigade hates free speech and property rights…

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Chozen (profile) says:

Fact?

Facts? Didn’t Facebook and their fact checkers argue before the Federal Court in the Northern District of California that fact checks are not statements of objective fact but subjective opinion journalism? Didn’t they win their case on that argument. Didn’t the judge agree that no reasonable person would consider a factcheck to be a statement of objective fact?

Yeah I’m pretty sure they did and that just happened.

According to US law in the 9th circuit, where TechDirt is located FYI, if you believe that factchecks are statements of objective fact you are as a matter of settled law not a reasonable person.

It seems to me that Silicon Valley wants it both ways, which I get trust me 😉 They want fact checks to legally be considered statements of subjective opinion journalism but for the general public to consider them statements of objective fact.

While I get to have it both ways in my sexlife I would never be so much of a hypocrite in my beliefs.

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Chozen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Make me boi. What you going to have Mike filter another phrase I use?

Is “both ways” the next thing your sad pathetic ass will add to the filter. You are a loser and will always be a loser.

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McKay (profile) says:

If only there were a way...

“prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny.”

If only Facebook built a way to say “This post is believed false by our fact checkers, here’s why, but you can still see the content if you click through.” Oh. They have that already. :facepalm:

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Anonymous Coward says:

Oh, it’s you…

Mr. I have no fucking clue what a public house is.

Mr. I have no fucking clue how threaded comments sections work.

Mr. I have no fucking clue how trespassing works.

Shall I go on?

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