Democrats continue to ridicule Republican claims of political bias by social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google.
At a congressional hearing on the issue Tuesday, Rep. David Cicillone, D-R.I., claimed, “There is no evidence that the algorithms of social networks or search results are biased against conservatives.”
Oh, but there is, charged Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., after Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, pointed out censorship of “Jesus,” “Chick-Fil-A” and “the Catholic religion.”
Biggs’ comments, in an interview on Fox News:
“I think there is [censorship],” Biggs said, “And I think there’s ample evidence.
“I think of someplace like Western Journal that was growing month over month for quite some time and then the algorithms changed and the flow of visitors traffic is put to nothing,” he said.
He also cited a website by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., that was taken down because it was too controversial, holding a pro-life position.
“We have hate speech against conservatives that are out there, that is allowed to stay up,” he continued. “We see this happening and these purveyors acknowledge they have algorithm challenges, and sometimes they’re not acting responsibly and quick enough.”
Facebook recently censored a Texas newspaper’s posting of quotes from the Declaration of Independence, flagging them as “hate” speech.
“I think they do (need to explain) and I think what we’re doing is the right approach to this by putting public pressure on this, because as we shine the light of day on this we do see social media companies, they want to respond, because their constituents. … Let’s face it, a significant portion of the people who get on these social media sites they are conservatives.”
He said the liberal alternative would be to regulate the sites.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said he wants to find out if the tech giants are using their power to suppress a viewpoint.
WND reported chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., with other Republicans, pressed representatives of social media companies whether they were stifling conservative media outlets.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, expressed concern about the viability of Facebook’s efforts to combat “fake news” through computer algorithms and a panel of five news organizations that serve as “third-party fact checkers.”
“The whole idea of now we are going to have corporations censor speech based upon their definition of fake news, based on their definition of hate speech is opening up a Pandora’s box,” Poe said.
“What one person may think is fake news, somebody else believes is the gospel truth.”
At a House hearing April 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Silicon Valley is “an extremely left-leaning place” while insisting his company is a neutral platform for ideas.
In May, however, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saying they were “alarmed by numerous allegations that Facebook has blocked content from conservative journalists and groups, and Twitter has hidden such content from conservative users’ followers.” They pointed out that in 2016, former Facebook workers claimed they manipulated the “trending” section to exclude news tailored to conservative users, despite those topics trending on their own. Conservative Twitter users, in addition, have accused the company of purging thousands of their followers to stem “fake news” content.