The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center was too extreme for the Obama administration, but it’s just fine for Silicon Valley.
The Obama-era Justice Department once scolded the SPLC for overstepping “the bounds of zealous advocacy,” after the organization labeled the non-profit Federation for American Immigration Reform a “hate group.” Tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter must not have received the memo, as all four companies have enlisted the SPLC to help determine what organizations are hate groups, as first pointed out by The Daily Caller.
The four tech companies all “work with or consult” the controversial SPLC in policing their platforms, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson.
Spokespeople for Facebook, Amazon and Google confirmed a relationship with the SPLC when reached by Hasson. Twitter declined to comment but told the Caller the company is “in regular contact with a wide range of civil society organizations and [nongovernmental organizations].”
The investigation determined that Amazon gives the group the most power.
“Jeff Bezos’ company grants the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program, while claiming to remain unbiased,” Hasson wrote.
Amazon’s Smile program allows customers to donate a percentage of proceeds to various charities and the SPLC determines which charities receive the cash, according to the Caller, which reported last month that a prominent Christian legal group was barred from the Smile program, while openly anti-Semitic groups were allowed to participate.
“Critics say the group abuses its position as an arbiter of hatred by labeling legitimate players ‘hate groups’ and ‘extremists’ to keep the attention of its liberal donors and grind a political ax,” Politico’s Ben Schreckinger wrote.
The SPLC did not respond when asked for comment on The Daily Caller’s report.
Recently, the SPLC was forced to retract and apologize for an article that falsely asserted several reporters were enabling white supremacists and Russia while labeling them as fascists and racists; ignored rising left-wing anti-Semitism on college campuses; and labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group,” which led an armed man to attack its facility.
John Stossel called the group “a money-grabbing slander machine” in a Fox News editorial earlier this year. In 2017, Fox News found at least six other groups that are conservative and explicitly nonviolent but branded as hate organizations by the SPLC.
Last month, dozens of prominent conservative leaders issued a joint statement regarding censorship and suppression of conservative speech by Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube after right-leaning users complained of bias for years.
“Social media censorship and online restriction of conservatives and their organizations have reached a crisis level,” the statement began. “Conservative leaders now have banded together to call for equal treatment on tech and social media.”
The participants called for the tech giants to address the key areas of complaint including lack of transparency when removing content and deleting accounts and the imbalance of liberal content advisers, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Amazon told Fox News through a spokesperson: “Charitable organizations must meet the requirements outlined in our participation agreement to be eligible for AmazonSmile. Organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible. If at any point an organization violates this agreement, its eligibility will be revoked. Since 2013, Amazon has relied on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Southern Poverty Law Center to help us make these determinations. While this system has worked well, we do listen to and consider the feedback of customers and other stakeholders, which we will do here as well.”
Neither Facebook nor Google immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment. Twitter directed Fox News to a website listing its safety partners which includes the SPLC.