Facebook Content Moderators Admit to Targeting Trump Supporters in Undercover Video
'If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism'
Facebook content moderators have been caught in an undercover video sting operation, admitting to anti-conservative bias and targeting supporters of President Donald Trump.
In secretly filmed footage, published by investigative activist group Project Veritas on Tuesday, moderators appear to boast about deleting content from Trump supporters or users "wearing a MAGA hat."
"If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism," one of them brags on video.
The video shows individual Facebook content moderators, working for a third-party contractor, Cognizant, discuss using their positions to censor Republicans and conservatives.
While they are meant to be removing content for breaching Facebook's policies - such as posts that promote terrorism or child abuse - the moderators express their eagerness for abusing their positions to censor Trump supporters.
The individuals are also shown revealing how they give a free pass to left-wing content that would normally be a policy breach.
The footage shows that CNN host Don Lemon was granted an “exception” by a Facebook moderator for speech that would have otherwise violated the company’s rules against hate speech.
The footage includes a shot of internal order to the Cognizant team during a webinar services meeting.
Moderators were given explicit instructions not to censor a video of Lemon saying that white men are “the biggest terror threat in this country.”
“This is implying that white men are terrorists and so would typically violate [Facebook rules against 'dehumanizing' speech],” a manager told moderators in a November 2018 message.
"As this is a newsworthy event, FB’s content policy team is allowing a narrow exception for this content on the platform."
Project Veritas also released an interview with former Cognizant content moderator Zach McElroy, as well as undercover footage McElroy secretly recorded.
“I’m thinking about, I’m thinking, delete like every Donald Trump post I see on the timeline,” McElroy tells a table full of Cognizant content moderators in another clip.
“Oh, okay, I thought I was the only one,” another moderator replies.
In some of the videos, Cognizant employees appear to be more willing to delete content because they were in their last days of working as content moderators.
“You don’t let any go, do you? Like, if you see a conservative post you just get rid of it, right?” a Project Veritas operative asks a content moderator working for Cognizant.
“Yes! I don’t give no f**ks, I’ll delete it,” she answers.
“Even if it’s in policy, you’re deleting that, right?” the operative presses.
“Yeah, I don’t give no f**ks," she answers.
"It’s like one week left. What are they gonna do?”
Another undercover clip shows a Cognizant content moderator saying she wanted to “delete all Republicans” on her last day.
“If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism and just going to like go crazy,” she said.
The undercover footage, recorded by Project Veritas operatives and the former content moderator, doesn’t show evidence of a top-down organized system of political discrimination at Facebook.
But Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe says it does show an “anti-conservative culture” that yields anti-conservative results.
Project Veritas is a conservative activist group known for conducting hidden camera investigations.
The group has had mixed results in the past.
The activist group also appeared to get caught in an attempted sting operation targeting Washington Post reporters during the 2017 special election for one of Alabama’s two U.S. Senate seats.