During the course of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on consumer protection and commerce, Chairwoman Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) actually claimed that Facebook and Twitter favor conservatives, despite mountains of evidence that conservatives are more likely to get banned, flagged, or “fact checked” by the social media giants.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Schakowsky said with an apparently straight face, “Don’t be fooled by made-up claims of bias against conservatives. Today, it seems there is less of a bias against conservatives and rather a bias for conservatives.”
A brief perusal of the list of people who have been banned on Twitter and Facebook shows that virtually all of them are conservative or supporters of Donald Trump. Additionally, Facebook’s “fact-checking” program has been repeatedly exposed for failing to fact check liberal or mainstream media sites as aggressively as conservative sites.
In spite of the obvious thumb on the scales, conservative-leaning publications continue to be among the most popular pages on Facebook, which obviously troubles Democrats, who have long pressed Facebook to take a more active role in censoring “disinformation,” which usually means points of view that Democrats do not agree with.
The Joe Biden campaign has signaled that, if Biden is elected, he intends to pressure Facebook to do more to fight “disinformation,” as defined by Joe Biden.
In a recent interview, Biden campaign deputy counsel Patrick Moore said, “Facebook has made public promises, they have made both public and private acknowledgments of their shortcomings, and they have taken what is effectively zero material steps to address misinformation. We view ourselves to be better prepared to address it. We shouldn’t need to. No candidate should need to. Facebook promised that they wouldn’t do it again. And we are going to look to hold them to it.”
The hearings come as members of both parties consider possible amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, albeit for different reasons. Republicans seek to punish social media companies for what they view as partisan censorship of conservative viewpoints, while Democrats want to punish social media companies for allowing “misinformation” (i.e., things they disagree with) to spread on social media.