In a special report on a website belonging to former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, details were shared of an interview with an ex-employee of Facebook, who revealed the tactics used by social media giant Facebook, just prior to the German Federal election in September 2017, to censor and ban conservative content.
The story first appeared in the European, a German publication, and was translated for Yiannopoulos’ website.
The ex-Facebook employee, identified as Melanie C., was interviewed by the European, and said she worked three months as a moderator for Facebook while she was attending college.
Melanie described being offered a part-time job by an employment agency, who told her the job would last until after the German Federal election in September.
She reportedly went to Berlin for the interview, where she was first asked casual questions about her background and college studies, before the interviewer moved on to ask about her political interests.
“Then he asked me if I was politically active and so on,” Melanie told the magazine. “I told him that I was once in the “General Student Committee” and my father and actually the whole family is in the Social Democratic Party.”
“He then asked me if I could also imagine working in an accommodation for asylum seekers, perhaps teaching there. So I said yes – he liked that.”
“We just talked about me and current issues, what we need to do to make people feel better, and what will make Europe and the world more peaceful and humane,” she said.
According to the Yiannopoulos report, Melanie was taken to another room for a group interview, with six other applicants, all in their 20s, and two recruiters.
One recruiter told them, “The company we work for does not want that candidates, who might not be selected, to know what it is,” when asked what the job was.
The recruiters talked about Trump, refugees in Europe, and women’s rights. One man who defended Trump, along with two other “less vocal” candidates were asked to leave.
The recruiter then told them that the prospective employer was Facebook, who was hiring a team to monitor and delete fake news and hate speech.
Melanie reportedly said she accepted the job.
“My mentor, Sabine, said we need to be aware of the responsibility we have here. After all, we are facing an important election, and one posting on Facebook could quickly be shared a few thousand times and reach millions people,” she said.
“Among them, there would also be news that would confuse people, or make the populace uneasy, or rile them up – then eventually, more people would vote for the Nazis of the Alternative for Germany. Which would mean that violence increases, and we once again have a Third Reich. I didn’t want that nor did she.”
In the interview, as translated by the Yiannopoulos website, Melanie said she was told to censor all flagged comments, and said Facebook’s blacklist of news sites that were critical of the German government or reported on migrant crimes was updated frequently.
Shortly before the election, Melanie said they were told to censor not just fake news, but anything critical of Germany’s current liberal government, especially anti-refugee news or criticism from right-wing news outlets.
The censored content was rarely deleted, but instead, Melanie said they were ordered to “bully away” conservative users by banning them for extended periods of time.
“I feel really bad. I feel that I have done something really bad, even against the victims of the crime in the articles that I had to dismiss as spam. I feel as if I somehow manipulated people and cheated on their own opinion,” Melanie reportedly said.
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