A recent report from The Wall Street Journal detailed the concerning practices of social media giant Facebook, which the big tech company used its power to stifle the spread and formation of the Patriot Party – which served as an alternative to the Republican Party.

The Wall Street Journal’s tone presented in the article conveyed a sense of approval toward Facebook thwarting a political movement that breaks from the bounds of the big two-party system – using predictable talking points like “January 6th” and allegations of white nationalism:

“After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, far-right activists launched an online campaign to form what they called a Patriot Party as an alternative to the Republican Party.

Facebook Inc. worked to kill it, citing information it said showed the movement was being pushed by white nationalists and self-styled militias who had worked to instigate the riot, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”

Reportedly engineers at Facebook worked to make the visibility of any Patriot Party-themed content limited when shared by enthusiasts, while also limiting the number of invites one could send out for groups associated with the political movement.

One internal memo from Facebook also noted that they “were able to nip terms like Patriot Party in the bud before mass adoption.”

The rationale for Facebook to engage in such an activity was part of a strategy to protect Facebook users from joining “harmful communities”. And apparently, the Patriot Party was among those deemed to be “harmful”.

Larry Glenn, treasurer of the American Patriot Party of the United States, claimed his organization was expanding early this year partly due to Facebook. The platform allowed it to propagate its message and bring like-minded individuals to it, with some of them being driven to the party’s website as a result:

“The website was growing quickly. We had a lot of followers.”

Glenn later began to get warnings from Facebook, alleging members of the Facebook group for the Patriot Party were posting “divisive” content on the platform – and even after Glenn addressed posts that violated community guidelines, Facebook axed the group entirely:

“They pulled the rug out from under us.”

It’s hardly surprising to see Facebook specifically targeting the Patriot Party, considering mainstream media reports – like this February report from Reuters – framed Patriot Party enthusiasts as “militia groups” who were “promoting a mix of conspiracy theories.”

But said the targeting of the Patriot Party didn’t start with Reuters, but rather a watchdog group known as the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), which their February report led to the mainstream media outlets echoing their fear-mongering.

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