Campaign points out proven standard that allows speech while limiting actual ‘hate’
President Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Few doubt that most of the big tech and social media companies have a left-leaning bias.
Conservatives already have raised the issue, including urging the CEOs of those companies to start playing fair if they “wish to have any credibility with the conservative movement and its tens of millions of supporters.”
“Social media censorship and online restriction of conservatives and their organizations have reached a crisis level,” the statement says. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill only served to draw attention to how widespread this problem has become.”
In addition, a coalition led by the Electronic Frontier is calling on the Internet giants to practice transparency and fairness.
“Users need to know why some language is allowed and the same language in a different post isn’t,” said Jillian York, director of international freedom of expression for EFF. “They also deserve to know how their posts were flagged – did a government flag it, was it flagged by the company itself? And we all deserve a chance to appeal decisions to block speech.”
EFF and its partners are calling on Facebook, Google and other social media companies “to publicly report how many user posts they take down, provide users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.”
The Media Research Center, and 18 other leading conservative groups, announced Tuesday a new coalition called Conservatives Against Online Censorship.
It points out there already is a standard that establishes free speech while prohibiting true “hate” speech or threats of violence.
It’s called the First Amendment.
As a regulation for government, private companies aren’t bound by it. But there’s nothing to prevent them from following it.
“Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court,” the new campaign said Tuesday.
“That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom,” the campaign said.
“In the face of numerous attempts to silence conservative speech on major social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, the coalition promotes fairness for conservatives online. Social media is the most critical means of communication in the modern world and we will not allow conservatives to be blocked from the national dialogue,” the members explained.
“As conservatives, we recognize the right of private companies to adopt any policy they want. However, it’s also unethical and, frankly, un-American to prohibit speech with which you disagree.”
The First Amendment allows the Southern Poverty Law Center to call Dr. Ben Carson a “hater,” which it did before it was publicly shamed and had to back down.
SPLC still portrays numerous Christian organizations as “hate groups” because they don’t endorse same-sex marriage and abortion.
Yet SPLC’s “hate group” list has been used by some of the web giants to censor groups that promote traditional views of marriage and sexuality.
Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell said said social media “is the most expansive and most game-changing form of communication today.”
“It is these facts that make online political censorship one of the largest threats to free speech we have ever seen,” he said.
“Conservatives should be given the same ability to express their political ideas online as liberals, without the fear of being suppressed or censored.”
Bozell said meaningful debate “only happens when both sides are given equal footing.”
“Freedom of speech, regardless of ideological leaning, is something Americans hold dear. Facebook, Twitter and all other social media companies must acknowledge this and work to rectify these concerns unless they want to lose all credibility with the conservative movement,” he said.
“As leaders of this effort, we are launching this coalition to make sure that the recommendations we put forward on behalf of the conservative movement are followed through.”
The coalition’s goals include transparency from web companies about how and why they censor, a definition of “hate speech” since companies seem to apply it to opinions with which they disagree, and equal footing.
“Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Pover Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias,” the group said.
The coalition members include ACT for America, National Organization for Marriage, American Civil Rights Union, Freedom Foundation, Project Veritas, International Organization for the Family and Heartland Institute.
WND reported just days ago when the EFF coalition called on the social media giants to “publicly report how many user posts they take down, provider users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.”
The coalition has released the Santa Clara Principles, a “set of minimum standards for tech companies to augment and strengthen their content moderation policies,” the EFF announcement said.
“The plain language, detailed guidelines call for disclosing not just how and why platforms are removing content, but how much speech is being censored. The principles are being released in conjunction with the second edition of the Content Moderation and Removal at Scale conference. Work on the principles began during the first conference, held in Santa Clara, California, in February,” the report said.
“Our goal is to ensure that enforcement of content guidelines is fair, transparent, proportional, and respectful of users’ rights,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo.
The Gateway Pundit blog said it’s “no accident” that conservatives are censored on Facebook.
“This was the plan. In January 2017, Facebook began making algorithm changes to make sure conservative news was no longer so influential. The Gateway Pundit Facebook traffic has consistently decreased with each algorithm change.
“A March 2018 study by The Outline organization found conservative publishers were hit the hardest by Facebook algorithm changes. The study also showed that The Gateway Pundit was hit the hardest. In March 2018 Western Journal also published a study that found conservative publishers were hit the hardest by the recent Facebook algorithm changes. The report found that liberal publishers actually saw a 2 percent increase in traffic. Conservative publishers lost an average of 14 percent in traffic.”
The Gateway Pundit noted Facebook official Campbell Brown, a former anchor on NBC and CNN, told attendees at a recent technology and publishing conference that Facebook would be censoring news publishers based on its own internal biases. “And they did.”