Facebook hasn’t had a great year this year. Everyone’s favourite definitely-not-a-lizard-man, Mark Zuckerberg, got dragged to hell and back by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and then the entire globe gave them a pretty serious side-eye after Twitter banned political advertising and Facebook refused to. And those incidents were just in the last month.
Hell, Facebook can’t even seem to get sending flowers right this year.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised then, that Facebook has decided that it’s totally fine with photoshopped Tweets designed to whip up political anger floating around on their website.
Some fake tweets had been made up to look like Sally McManus, leader of the The Australian Council of Trade Unions, had said that she thought an inheritance tax was a great idea. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t think that.
Another one had been made to look like it was from Bill Shorten, saying that “immigration of people from the Middle East is the future Australia needs”. Another spoiler alert: he never tweeted that.
The tweets were posted on two Facebook pages: Respect Australia Rally – National and I’ll Stand by Tony Abbott. The sorts of pages, as you can probably imagine, who would kick off in a major way if they thought that Bill Shorten had tweeted about immigration from the Middle East.
When Sally McManus contacted Facebook, and pointed out that this was absolutely the most basic definition of fake news, they basically shrugged their shoulders.
One of Facebook’s client support analysts got back to Sally, and said that while “we understand that the content was upsetting and we’re sorry you had to experience this” that it “doesn’t violate our community guidelines”.
Facebook have said before that they just don’t want to be involved if they don’t have to – actually they said that they don’t want to “referee political debates” of any kind. When you’re fine with photoshopped tweets and you’ve been accused of swinging a whole election though, I’m going to say that you’re probably way past the point of refereeing.