Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Sues Meta for Shadowbanning Doc

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The Lawsuit Against Meta by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

In a legal dispute that seems to brush aside the protections offered by Section 230, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has taken legal action against Meta, claiming that his documentary, “Who Is Bobby Kennedy?” was shadowbanned by the platform. Kennedy alleges that Meta’s actions have obstructed his supporters from advocating for his presidential campaign, resulting in significant financial losses for his cause.

Collusion Allegations

Kennedy asserts that Meta is colluding with the Biden administration to influence the outcome of the 2024 presidential election by suppressing his documentary and impeding support for his candidacy. These actions are claimed to not only have financial consequences but also infringe upon the free speech rights of Kennedy, his supporters, and the production company behind the film, AV24.

Initially, Meta restricted the documentary on its platforms, Facebook and Instagram. However, after rectifying an issue caused by automated spam filters, access to the film was restored.

Continued Censorship Claims

Despite Meta’s efforts to address the initial restrictions, Kennedy’s legal complaint states that the platform continues to censor the documentary through methods such as throttling, de-boosting, demoting, and shadowbanning. An exhibit attached to the complaint showcases screenshots of Facebook and Instagram users who were allegedly threatened, intimidated, and penalized by Meta for sharing the documentary.

According to the complaint, some users are still facing suspensions on Meta’s platforms, while others have reported that their posts are being suppressed even after their suspensions were lifted. Kennedy’s legal team highlighted an interaction with Meta’s chatbot, where the platform indicated that the link to the documentary was restricted.

Questionable Evidence

It’s worth noting that chatbots like the one employed by Meta are known for providing inaccurate information. Meta’s terms of service explicitly state that responses from chatbots may not always be reliable and should be verified independently. Additionally, it seems improbable that Meta’s AI would have access to details regarding internal content moderation decisions.

Some industry observers have criticized Kennedy’s reliance on the chatbot response as evidence of shadowbanning. Mike Masnick of Techdirt pointed out the lack of substantial proof to support Kennedy’s claims, emphasizing that Meta’s spam filters frequently erroneously flag content that doesn’t violate guidelines.

When contacted for comments, neither Meta nor Kennedy’s legal representation responded to requests from Ars.

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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