Zach McElroy was a content moderator at Cognizant, a company hired by Facebook to monitor content on its platform, when he started to become concerned about politically targeted moderation of Facebook posts.
He noticed that in Cognizant’s so-called ‘Civic Harassment queue’ – a list of Facebook posts that get flagged by a special algorithm due to possible violations of the platform’s Community Guidelines – a clear majority of the items came from Republican pages, as well as conservative politicians, journalists or anyone who supported US President Donald Trump.
— Zach McElroy (@ZachMcE) June 23, 2020
McElroy said he would testify under oath that three quarters of the flagged posts he saw were targeting people on a specific political spectrum.
“For 75 to 80 percent of the posts to be targeting Republicans and conservatives, you can say it was a bot. But somebody had to design the algorithm. So really, somebody at Facebook,” the insider stressed in a video released by Project Veritas on Tuesday.
In the Project Veritas footage, Cognizant employees talk about Facebook’s moderation policy and how they carry out their content-checking role. “If you see a conservative post you just get rid of it, right?” a person described by Project Veritas as a journalist asked.
“Yes, I don’t give no f**ks, I’ll delete it,” an unnamed content moderator replied.
Steve Grimmett, team leader for content review, was recorded describing Facebook as “a very progressive company who’s very anti-MAGA,” while another unnamed monitor claimed that it’s “common sense” to delete posts with #MAGA in them.
“If someone is wearing a MAGA hat I’m going to delete them for terrorism,” admitted another post-moderating colleague. One of the team’s managers is recorded saying: “Gotta get the Cheeto [Trump] out of office.”
McElroy also revealed that an internal Facebook memo allowed for a graphic image of Trump’s throat being cut to stay on the platform, while cartoons that depicted Democrat Beto O’Rourke getting shot were deleted.
The Project Veritas investigation appears to contradict testimony given by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg before Congress in 2018, where he claimed that his company has no political bias and is committed to freedom of speech.