Facebook Scrambling to Fight Charges of Liberal Bias
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet with prominent conservatives in an attempt to move past last week’s bombshell accusations.
It began with a feature story at Gizmodo. Former Facebook employees came forward anonymously to pull the curtain back on the site’s trending news section. While Facebook led users to believe the section was driven by a neutral algorithm that pushed popular stories to the top, these curators said the truth wasn’t quite so democratic. They regularly pruned conservative stories from the list, injected articles that weren’t actually trending, and replaced sources like The Blaze and Newsmax with more palatable sources like the New York Times.
Zuckerberg has publicly denied the accusations.
Among the conservatives expected to meet with Zuckerberg are radio host Glenn Beck, CNN conservative commentator SE Cupp, Fox News hosts Dana Perino and Zac Moffatt, and Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute.
“I’m going in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn more,” Cupp said. “Conservatives and Silicon Valley actually come down on the same side of many issues and share some common concerns. I’m sure we’ll find plenty to talk about, and I’m honored to have been included.”
Beck also spoke out about the upcoming meeting, telling users on Facebook that he was hoping for the best.
“While they are a private business and I support their right to run it any way they desire without government interference,” Beck wrote, “it would be wonderful if a tool like Facebook INDEPENDENTLY CHOSE to hold up freedom of speech and freedom of association as a corporate principle.”
If Zuckerberg does choose to use the site that way, “independently” will be the only way he will do it. With a site valued at nearly $400 billion and a news section relied upon by 41% of American adults, he has the power going into this meeting. How worried can he really be? Even a cursory look at his history and the history of his website shows an obvious leftward tilt. If users didn’t flee the site when Facebook agreed to censor anti-refugee comments in Germany, will they really leave because CPAC stories were trimmed from the news section?
So why hold the meeting at all? Well, it’s interesting. Most of the conservatives scheduled to attend the meeting are hostile to Republican nominee Donald Trump. Most of them would love to see “immigration reform.” And we know that Zuckerberg is a huge proponent of open borders. Perhaps he’s hoping to work with these conservatives to push that agenda.
Truthfully, conservatives shouldn’t be trying to “fix” Facebook’s news section. We shouldn’t even be angry about it. It’s very rare that the liberal media gets called out by the liberal media. The point going forward should be to get Americans to realize that everything they read – even an aggregator that pulls from many different sources – comes with political bias. “You aren’t getting the whole truth” is a much more powerful (and much more honest) message than, “Everything’s fine; you can trust Facebook from now on.”
Liberal bias is no threat to conservatism when it’s exposed; only when it remains invisible can it do damage. Don’t help Zuckerberg sweep the truth back under the rug.