Facebook Faces Facts on Bias
“If this isn’t bias, what is?” Good question — one that Facebook had better be prepared to answer. If they don’t, at least four senators are about to make life difficult for more than CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After months insisting there’s “no prejudice” against conservatives, Americans aren’t buying it. Neither is Congress, and that’s bad news for the Big Tech liberals at Twitter, Google, and Pinterest.
Other organizations might think it was a mistake. But the pro-life group Live Action knew better. They’d just been through this in June with another company — only Pinterest had a clever way of suppressing the message. They reclassified the entire organization as a porn site. Facebook, on the other hand, was a lot more open about their agenda. When Lila Rose posted two videos insisting abortion isn’t medically necessary, they were labeled “false” and censored.
In a pointed letter to Zuckerberg, Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) explain how interesting this is, since Facebook’s “fact-checkers” are supposedly “certified” through a nonpartisan group. If that’s the case, how does Zuckerberg explain putting two pro-abortion activists with “significant ties to abortion-rights advocacy organizations” in charge of Live Action’s content?
“…No reasonable person would describe [these activists] are neutral or objective when it comes to the issue of abortion,” they write, “yet Facebook relied on their rating to suppress and censor a pro-life organization with more than three million followers. These are clear violations of the IFCN principle and of Facebook’s supposed commitment to nonpartisanship.”
Like Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and other platforms, Facebook insists these are “glitches.” That’s funny, these senators would say, since these “glitches” only seem to affect conservatives. The political optics must not have been lost on Facebook, who contacted Live Action within hours of the letter and informed the group that its posts had been restored. In a tweet, Senator Hawley celebrated the news that Zuckerberg had also asked the company’s “‘independent’ fact check organization to open investigation into how pro-abortion activists got certified as ‘neutral’ fact checkers.”
Still, he argues, if Facebook isn’t doing this on purpose, then it’s time to submit to an external audit. “It’s really telling,” he explained on Thursday’s “Washington Watch.” “I mean, they’re willing to say, ‘Oh, we made a mistake. They promise to fix it. [But it’s] a pattern. And when you say… 'Why don’t you prove it? Why don’t you prove your good faith?’ By the way, Facebook has been up to testify in front of me [and] in front of the Senate. At the end they say things like, ‘We never discriminate on the basis of political views.’ Okay, so just open your books. But that they shut down. So I think it shows you they have something to hide.”
And that’s a problem, Hawley knows — not just because they’re a major corporation, but because they get special protections that other companies don’t get.
“Facebook gets a special immunity from [law]suits — immunity from accountability, really. So groups like Live Action, they can’t sue Facebook under the law. They can’t pursue any kind of remedy under the law because Facebook is immune. That’s because of the federal government. The federal government has given them this special deal. It’s worth billions of dollars to Facebook. I mean, it’s really a massive subsidy for the American taxpayer. And that’s why I say Facebook if [they’re] going to censor, if they’re going to discriminate, why are we being forced to subsidize it? Why are we being forced to protect them with the power of the law and taxpayer money? That needs to stop.”
Originally published here.
Dems Look for a Silencer in Gun Law
How do you respond, one reporter asked, to fears that the government is going to confiscate people’s firearms? Democrat Beto O'Rourke didn’t even flinch. “I want to be really clear: that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” And based on one House bill, they aren’t even waiting for a new president to try.
The Left is coming for your guns, and they aren’t even ashamed to admit it. Just this week, they launched the first of several salvos against the Second Amendment with the Rep. David Cicilline’s (D-R.I.) Disarm Hate Act — a cleverly-named proposal aimed at restricting guns — and punishing conservatives in the process. During a Tuesday hearing that went late into the night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) made their case for tying hate crimes to firearm law. “The link between gun violence and bigotry is clear,” Cicilline argued. “Convicted hate criminals are a danger to our society. They should not be allowed to legally own guns.”
Like the California law by the same name, Democrats want to add something as arbitrary as a “hate crime” misdemeanor conviction to the long list of reasons Americans can’t buy a gun. It would mean, as one expert put it, that people could lose their Second Amendment rights — “not for violence, or even the threat of violence, but for a completely non-violent misdemeanor if it’s declared a ‘hate crime’ by authorities.” As other reporters point out, it would also be the “first piece of federal legislation barring an entire class of persons from owning a firearm in over 20 years.”
Of course, as most conservatives know, the concept of “hate crimes” was ridiculous to begin with. Ten years into this experiment, most Americans have started to see how ideologically-driven the concept is. Apart from the fact that “hate” is a very elastic term in the hands of the Left, surely we can all agree that no one deserves to be punished extra for holding certain views. That’s an attack on the First Amendment, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Colo.) insists — plain and simple.
“Democrats are today using identity politics to further divide America. They’re exploiting our differences for political gain,” he argued. “Let me be clear: A crime is not somehow worse because of the immutable or other characteristics of the victim. Justice must be swift, and it must also be blind. Murder is murder. Assault is assault. The First Amendment is not there for speech we like. It is there to protect speech that we abhor. H.R. 2708 is an attempt by the Democrat majority to [undermine our basic freedoms]. It would allow future administrations to use vaguely defined ‘hate crime[s]’ as against individuals with whom they disagree by permanently depriving them a fundamental constitutional right.”
And it’s not like these types of laws are necessary, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R) pointed out on Wednesday’s “Washington Watch.” Democrats, she said, are just using the emotion of the moment to drive their real agenda: eliminating guns from the hands of all Americans. “I understand after there’s a mass shooting that people in the public want us to do something — want Congress to do something. The thing is, is we need to work in a bipartisan fashion to actually do things that will make a difference. A lot of [the Left’s] gun legislation will not make a difference at all.”
What’s worse, she explains, proposals like this one “[take] away due process rights of law-abiding citizens.” Another bill the Left pushed through the committee Tuesday night, she said, “basically says that each year gun could be taken away without even knowing about a court hearing.”
But the problem isn’t just that the Left is using these measures as a stalking horse to take down the First and Second Amendments. The problem is that we’re missing the real problem here, which is that these are symptoms of a society gone awry. We want to talk about the instruments of violence, but we don’t want to have a conversation about what’s motivating people to commit these horrible mass shootings in places like Dayton or El Paso. Until we sit down and talk about the moral decay that’s really plaguing our culture, nothing Congress is doing will matter.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.