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Facebook Admits Conservative Bias Doesn’t Exist But Continues to Cave to Republicans Anyway.
By Melissa Ryan
“We do not.” – Facebook Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert when asked directly if Facebook had a bias against conservatives.
This week during an interview with Yahoo News, a Facebook executive admitted what the rest of us have known all along, Facebook does not, in fact, have an anti-conservative bias. Media Matters’ Natalie Martinez has proved this with multiple studies. Facebook’s own Conservative Bias audit, which they hired Republican lobbyist (and occasional Senator) Jon Kyl to write, showed that the right had a lot of feelings about supposed bias but could not produce any evidence or data that it exists.
Facebook has now spent more than two years trying to appease Republicans on this non-issue to no avail. Trump and the GOP will keep whining about conservative bias that doesn’t exist because they feel it’s a winning strategy for them, because they know tech companies will continue to cave, and because it’s a way for them to show support for white supremacists and male supremacists when tech companies take down the latter content (without having to explicitly endorse their views.) The Trump administration is also seeking to regulate the social media companies against bias that doesn’t exist and has drafted an executive order compelling the “Federal Communications Commission to regulate how social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube moderate the content that users put on their platforms.”
This week Buzzfeed’s Claudia Koerner reports that Facebook took down a fact check of an anti-abortion video after four Republican Senators – Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Kevin Cramer, and Mike Braun – complained. The Senators sent a letter to Facebook “accusing the company of censorship and bias against conservatives. At issue were two videos published by anti-abortion group Live Action and its founder, Lila Rose, which were rated as inaccurate by an independent fact-checking group.”
Facebook took down factually correct information for purely political reasons. The squeaky wheel gets oiled and no one is better than being a squeaky wheel than Trump’s Republican party.
In the context of the 2020 elections, this is a huge problem. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has essentially shut down and unless Trump appoints more commissioners (highly unlikely) it will be unable to open investigations or enforce campaign violations this election cycle. With no government body to set and enforce digital ad policies, Facebook and the tech companies are left to set policies and resolve disputes on their own. If Facebook can be bullied into removing an accurate medical video for purely political reasons the Right will absolutely use this tactic with other types of political content and ads.
The lack of an organized outrage machine puts progressives at a strategic disadvantage and nowhere is that more clear than the conservative bias myth that will not die. We can’t fight disinformation and propaganda effectively without mounting our own offense to pressure tech companies. The good news is that unlike Trump and the GOP, progressives won’t have to make things up to have an argument to mobilize around.
Tolerating Intolerance: Far-Right Activists and Libertarians Converge in Turkey
By Patrik Hermannson
Since 2006 Hans Herman Hoppe, a German-American right-wing libertarian academic, has hosted the annual Property and Freedom Society (PFS) conference in Bodrum, Turkey. The conference has hosted academics from well-known institutions (this year’s speaker list includes one academic from King’s College in London) but also prominent far-right thinkers from across the globe. The likes of Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, Tomislav Sunic, Jared Taylor, Richard Spencer and Paul Gottfried have all spoken at the conference.
The combination of libertarian thinkers – whose politics allow for greater mainstream acceptability – and far-right activists makes the conference an interesting meeting point between the two movements, particularly given its international scope. It also highlights how libertarian principles can be used to make conceptual space for racism and the whitewashing of far-right views.
Read the full story here.
- America’s Voice has released 2020 Ad Watch, a database tracking racist ads and calling out those who run them and those who fund them. A super helpful tool for anyone tracking the increase of radicalized language in our political discourse.
- First Draft News is out with a set of flashcards providing “practical information and advice on how to safely investigate and report on online spaces.” You can download a high resolution version of the flashcards here.
- Troll Factories? So 2016. How the Moscow Government Diversified Its Online Election Interference Strategies This Summer (Meduza)
- Antifa’s Keyboard Warriors (Gen, Medium)
- The Making of Andy Ngo (Jewish Currents)
- Online Harassment is the Largest Safety Concern for Female Journalists, New Study Finds (CNN)
- A New Baseless Conspiracy Theory About Rep. Ilhan Omar Can Be Traced Back to Far-right Message Boards (Media Matters)
- Why Two Allies of Washington State Rep. Matt Shea Turned on the Controversial Lawmaker (Seattle Times)
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Next Donor Call 9/24 7 PM EDT!
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This call with be with Melissa Ryan and Patrik Hermansson, a HOPE not hate researcher and subject of the documentary “Undercover in the Alt-Right.” Patrik will speak about his time infiltrating the far right in America and the UK, and we’ll open up the call for questions about the film or anything else that’s been on your mind.
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