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Apr 18, 2024

The notoriously intelligence-friendly social media network appears to have imposed a ban on posting a recent report by Kit Klarenberg, and is automatically restricting users who re-publish his work.

Multiple Facebook users have reported being banned, or having their posts censored, after sharing an investigation by The Grayzone’s Kit Klarenberg into CIA and MI6 involvement in the creation of ISIS. Readers who post links to the piece on the social network find themselves frozen out of their accounts, on the apparent grounds that Facebook has classified Klarenberg as a “dangerous individual.”

“I just shared this article from @Kit Klarenberg on Facebook and the post was immediately deleted,” wrote Ricky Hale, the founder of popular independent left-wing outlet Council Estate Media.

In a Substack article published April 5, Hale wrote that “the page was hit with restrictions and I was told I had shared a post from a dangerous individual or organisation.”

Hale was only able to regain control of his Facebook page, which boasts over 44,000 fans, by removing administrative privileges from the user who shared it — which happens to be himself.

Other restrictions imposed due to sharing Klarenberg’s work have not been lifted, and may well never be. Hale says he has been blocked from changing the page’s name, inviting people to join the page, or creating new Facebook groups. “Given Facebook had already reduced my page’s visibility for another absurd violation, I’m assuming my posts are going to be invisible,” Hale lamented. “This means a Facebook page with 44,000 users has been rendered useless because of state censorship that’s been outsourced to big tech. This is not how a free society operates.”

It was not the first time that Facebook censored one of its users for posting Klarenberg’s article. Hours beforehand, another social media user revealed the piece had been removed from her Facebook timeline mere “seconds” after it was posted.

That a social media network has labeled Klarenberg a “dangerous individual” and is suppressing attempts to publicize his investigative journalism comes as little surprise. Klarenberg was previously banned from X, Elon Musk’s “free speech app,” for offending the sensibilities of Zionist users. And in Facebook’s case, the company’s Global Threat Intelligence division is staffed by former spies for the CIA, Pentagon, and NSA.

Though little information on the division can be found online, it is known to be led by Ben Nimmo, a former NATO propagandist and alumnus of Integrity Initiative — a secret British Foreign Office information warfare operation itself staffed by military intelligence veterans. Frances Haugen, the now-forgotten Facebook “whistleblower” who lambasted her employers before Congress for failing to provide enough “content moderation” towards foreign “disinformation” threats, also hailed from Global Threat Intelligence.

Other senior positions in Global Threat Intelligence are reportedly occupied by David Agranovich, ex-Pentagon analyst and intelligence director for the White House National Security Council; Nathaniel Gleicher, former Council cybersecurity chief and Justice Department senior counsel for computer crime and intellectual property; and Mike Torrey, who previously worked as an NSA and CIA cyber analyst.

Agranovich and Torrey were key authors of Facebook’s State of Influence Operations 2017-2020, a report which alleged that China, Iran and Russia sought to weaponize the social network for malign purposes. The paper omitted any mention of Western cyber warfare operations known to target social media, such as the British Army’s 77th Brigade and the Pentagon’s psychological warfare division. But recent reporting indicates those were precisely the government-backed groups most likely to target Western social media users. 

In 2022, the Department of Defense was forced to conduct what mainstream media described as a “sweeping audit” of its “clandestine psychological operations” after the Pentagon was busted running a network of fake profiles to push propaganda online about Russia, China, and Iran.

Facebook’s Global Threat Intelligence unit first detected the US military’s malign activities, but instead of penalizing them, Facebook warned the Pentagon to better conceal its psychological operations, lest they be discovered by others. In September 2022, the Washington Post reported that “officers at Facebook and Twitter contacted the Pentagon to raise concerns about the phony accounts they were having to remove, suspicious they were associated with the military.”

The outlet wrote that in the previous months, Global Threat Intelligence’s Agranovich spoke to the Pentagon’s Christopher C. Miller, then assistant director for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, which oversees influence operations policy. Agranovich had reportedly warned his counterpart that “if Facebook could sniff them out, so could US adversaries.” A source with knowledge of the matter told the newspaper, “his point was: ‘Guys, you got caught. That’s a problem.’”

For Klarenberg, however, Facebook would extend no such charity, or even offer an explanation for classifying an investigative journalist as a national security threat.

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