Conservative accusations against Facebook bias fell on deaf ears in 2019. The social media behemoth recused itself of censorship of anti-conservative bias after a Washington D.C. law firm found no evidence. “There is the room for unconscious bias that we do not recognize,” said Neil Potts, Public Policy Director at Facebook in a statement in 2019.
The findings were a complete whitewash said Justin Danhof, Esq., the Director of the Free Enterprise Project, a program part of the National Center for Public Policy.
His organization concentrates on “shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business.”
Over 20 Conservative leaders, including Danhof, released a statement repudiating Facebook’s response to the specific examples of anti-conservatism raised in the report.
“Facebook has listened to the conservative movement’s complaints and in response has invited us to pound sand. It’s insulting but unsurprising. Unfortunately, this is how Facebook routinely responds to criticism. No conservative leader or organization should accept this as a legitimate response to the undeniable issues we have raised. This is purely another superficial attempt by Facebook to placate conservatives with empty promises.”
The reaction by Facebook after the audit was swift. Their vice president of public policy scheduled a meeting with Danhof and other conservative leaders in September.
Danhof isn’t a newcomer to Facebook executives. He’s defied Co-Founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg during shareholder meetings about conservative bias in 2016.
“We got their attention, it’s whether they will take action. When it comes to more of the policy stuff, that’s Sheryl Sandberg. Zuckerberg is the tech dork, geek. We saw this in front of Congress. You can tell he knows very little, it’s not his forte. Sandberg is an extreme liberal. My concern is that there was a parallel discussion going on with a dozen liberal groups including the ACLU, NAACP and the Poverty Law Center about civil rights policies on Facebook’s platforms. We all know what that’s code for.”
Liberal groups were summoned to conversations about what will or won’t be permitted on the platform and that’s an ongoing engagement. Conservatives wanted to be part of those discussions and were denied a seat at the table.
However, Facebook invited influential conservative leaders at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. March 2016. This was pure damage control after Gizmodo (tech website) reported that an anonymous ex-employee said Facebook’s “Trending Topics” team purposely manipulated news feeds to increase visibility for left-wing sites.
That’s when they held their little summit with people from Capitol Hill and conservative media leaders to diffuse anxieties about the Gizmodo article.
“I wish I could eat the steak everyone else got,” laughed Danhof. “I know why I wasn’t invited. I wasn’t going to take the bait. They all [conservative guests] came out and said it was a mistake. That it was some rogue employees — that they will never do it again.”
A month later when the Facebook shareholding meeting rolled around, Danhof gave 12 examples of bias continuing to happen.
“That’s when we got tangible action,” he said. “I confronted Zuckerberg to his face, this was a really interesting exchange. You could see he was getting very agitated with my questions because I kept rattling off more instances. They clearly thought they put this issue behind them. He got upset — stood up to answer my question and Sheryl grabbed his arm and told him to sit down, which also showed me the power and dynamic in the room. They had some low-level lackey lawyer give me no answers.”
Fact-checkers, launched by Facebook in 2016, is an attempt by Zuckerberg to limit the spread of fake news during the U.S. presidential election.
The tool uses algorithms to recognize fabricated or misleading stories going viral. If there are concerns, the story is buried in the newsfeed.
Facebook also uses a third-party fact-checking program. Many people are ex-CNN employees presenting a “neutral, despite most of its employees having donated to the Democratic Party, a conservative outlet has revealed.”
According to Town Hall, 18 of the 20 members of Facebook’s oversight board members have ties to Soros’ Open Society Foundations. “Most of the time, fact-checkers are simply an extension of a leftist media claiming to have a monopoly on the truth.”
Conservatives aren’t alone
Senator Elizabeth Warren shared that she was ending her relationship with Facebook after campaign advertisements were removed in 2019. “Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor,” she tweeted in March 2019.
“Donald Trump has broken Silicon Valley’s brain,” said Danhof. “If you watch the undercover Breitbart video of the Google meeting after the election — they’re broken human beings. They can’t cope. They quite obviously are going to use their power in any way that they can. I expect it will get worse, not better.”
Facebook is not the only social media platform displaying bias
President Trump blasted Twitter’s “trending” section in a July 27 tweet, calling it “really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair! They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend.”
President Trump accused the social media platforms of anti-conservative bias and threatened to shut them down after Twitter flagged his tweets about mail-in ballots as “misleading” in May.
Trump Jr. was recently locked out of Twitter for sharing video defending HCQ as Covid-19 cure.
Twitter said through a spokesperson that this is not a “suspension,” but instead a “temporary lockout.” To end the “lockout,” Trump Jr. must willingly delete the tweet himself. It has been replaced on his page with a message that simply reads: “this tweet is no longer available.”
Social media and other tech giants wield tremendous power over culture and during the 2020 election cycle. We need to be cognizant of the assaults against freedom of speech, religion and the press. Or, others will think for us.