Facebook is doing all it can to get ready for the 2020 elections. And by all it can, I mean it is actively silencing one political ideology.
Mark Zuckerburg wears his college-boy wardrobe, looks straight into the camera and tells us all that he wants diverse voices to be heard.
But trust me, he does not. And I can prove it.
I am the executive editor of The Western Journal, the site you are reading now. We operate several Facebook pages, but our two largest are The Western Journal Facebook page and the Conservative Tribune Facebook page. The former has 5.2 million Facebook followers and the latter 4.2 million followers.
We obtained those followers through two primary means. First, our readers share our stories and other people see them — they sometimes like and follow our page. Second, we pay Facebook to advertise our page to get likes. We pay the company a lot of money. And Facebook has never turned us down.
It loves them some Western Journal money.
But while Facebook has been taking our money to let us advertise, it has been decreasing how many of those followers actually get to see our stories.
In fact, for every 100 people that follow our page, Facebook on average shows any given one of our stories to less than one.
That’s not a misprint. Despite the fact that Facebook willingly took The Western Journal’s advertising dollars, and despite the fact that more than 5 million people chose to follow our pages, Facebook only showed each story to less than 1 percent of our audience.
And that was before June 3.
A few days into June, we noticed that even more of our audience was being kept from seeing our stories. So, we dug into it and what we found was disturbing.
The chart above shows the dramatic drop in “reach.” Reach is Facebook’s term for how many people see content from a page.
Facebook representatives have told us that the two pages look “healthy.” Although Facebook has acknowledged the dramatic downturn, it has assured us that there are no flags or penalties against our pages.
But that doesn’t change the fact that now, after June 3, less than 1 out of 1,000 of those Facebook followers will see any particular story from The Western Journal. Facebook completely silenced The Western Journal for the remaining 999.
Boom! @SenTedCruz hits the nail on the head about #BigTech bias. It is “pernicious” because they claim to have no bias. And it’s amplified because Big Tech can censor, shadow ban and decrease reach without anyone, or only the most sophisticated, even knowing about it. pic.twitter.com/Ba1XmsTv1a
— Shaun Hair (@Exec_Edtr_WJ) June 19, 2019
So, even though Zuckerberg talks a big game about how he wants Facebook to help protect democracy, what Facebook does is something else entirely.
When Facebook can control how many people see, click and engage with political stories right as the 2020 campaigns are ramping up, then the social media platform is contributing to, or interfering with, a fundamental necessity of our American democracy — broad access to diverse thought.
When Facebook can, with a line of code, decide that millions of people will no longer be able to see stories — stories that those citizens voluntarily signed up to see, then Facebook is as dangerous to elections as any other influence.
Despite our many email exchanges with seemingly well-intentioned Facebook employees, the fact remains The Western Journal is being silenced on its platform.
The truth is this: Facebook thinks it knows better than you about what you need. It doesn’t want to give Americans a broad selection and let us choose. It wants to choose for us and have us thank them for its wise generosity.
Facebook may applaud free speech when Zuckerberg stands in front of a camera, but the platform silences political speech when Facebook employees return to their computers at the company’s headquarters.
Facebook’s diversity of thought means only those thoughts that Facebook approves.
Its version of freedom is censoring speech.
Facebook’s democracy is no democracy at all.
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