Alt-left blog Skwawkbox has leapt to the defence of a Russia Today propagandist after Facebook deleted her account.
Facebook recently announced that it had deleted hundreds of accounts that displayed “inauthentic behaviour”, including “networks of accounts or Pages working to mislead others about who they are and what they are doing”.
Skwawkbox claims the decision is in fact an “attack … on media that genuinely try hold power to account”, and claims “many will find it hard to disagree” that it represents “a full-on fascist takeover of thought”.
But the examples of deleted accounts that Skwawkbox uses in his article do more to prove Facebook’s point than support his own allegations.
One such account belonged to Rachel Blevins, whose complaint about her page being deleted is quoted by Skwawkbox at the top of his article as an example of the purge he opposes. Blevins is a presenter at the American branch of Kremlin-backed TV channel Russia Today (RT) who regularly posts stories in support of the US gun lobby.
Blevins’ Facebook page was also host to videos that parroted Russian propaganda about the conflict in Syria. Before its deletion, her page’s top video was a film she produced for Russia Today in which she claimed the US was behind ISIS, and that US intervention in Syria had “killed more innocent civilians, destroyed more cities, and ultimately created more of a humanitarian crisis is Syria” than Assad’s forces. The video, titled “What you need to know about the escalating war in Syria”, at no point mentioned the role played by the Russian military in propping up Assad and causing the deaths of Syrian civilians. The video remains on YouTube.
The American RT correspondent also regularly shared links from the conspiracy theorist website The Free Thought Project, which has also had its Facebook page deleted. The site publishes multiple stories designed to dissuade parents from vaccinating their children against disease, as well as other fake news stories. A clip from Russia Today approvingly quoted by Skwawkbox and embedded in his article claims The Free Thought Project is “a legitimate journalistic enterprise.”
Skwawkbox isn’t alone in expressing outrage at Blevins’ page being deleted. Right-wing conspiracy theorist website The Drudge Report, neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer, and another called Infostormer (whose headline was “Jew Facebook bans RT America Correspondent”) all shared the alt-left site’s sentiment.