Is Facebook Censoring Conservatives?

For those of us who use Facebook to share our political and conservative views, this week’s congressional hearing over Facebook’s possible censorship of those who lean to the Right should be of interest.

Last week Facebook admitted to improperly sharing the personal information of up to 87 million users with data firm Cambridge Analytica. And then this week, in a two-day congressional hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz, Congressman Marsha Blackburn, and others about perceived bias against conservatives.

On Tuesday, Sen. Cruz cited several examples of Facebook suppressing conservative views in trending news stories, blocking several Catholic pages, and deeming conservative Trump-supporting video bloggers Diamond and Silk “unsafe for the community” while allowing pages and ads from Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, or any Democratic political candidates to remain uncensored. Then Sen. Cruz posed the question, “To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?” Zuckerberg mentioned it was a “fair” concern but asserted he actively tries to “root out” any instances of bias in Facebook’s work because he is “very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas.”

When Congressman Blackburn asked the following day, “Do you subjectively manipulate your algorithms to prioritize or censor speech?” the Facebook CEO sidestepped the question by stating that he does not view their actions as censorship, instead they screen for certain content such as terrorism. Blackburn then challenged Zuckerberg to become familiar with her bill that would help protect user privacy through Federal Trade Commission enforcement.

Whatever happens, FRC’S Tony Perkins notes, “At the end of the day, what most Americans want is transparency. If Facebook holds itself out as a public service, a virtual public square, then they can’t have an algorithmic bouncer kicking people out just because they disagree with their political or moral views.”

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