This is the best example of the proverbial rock and a hard place anyone could imagine.
Many of us who hold conservative values have alleged there is obvious bias against our voice on most social media platforms.
But what can be done to right this wrong?
Well, apparently President Donald Trump is working on it. A leaked draft of a potential executive order from the White House is floating around media outlets that attempts to bring accountability to the standard operating procedure of social media giants.
And Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — who has been grilled repeatedly by U.S. lawmakers over the social media company’s political biases — could be one of the hardest hit because of the size of Facebook, and the difficulty he had answering accusations that his company practices a form of anti-conservative censorship when questioned by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, among others.
The draft specifically refers to a social media company’s “exercise of bias” as one way it could exercise “market power in a way that harms consumers.”
While this document is a just a draft, I am hopeful at least that something can be done to curtail the what I consider to be obvious bias against conservatives on the internet.
Business Insider published excerpts of the draft order. Its focus centers on investigative authority of anti-trust violations by social media giants.
“… Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms. Vibrant competition in the online ecosystem is essential to ensuring accountability for the platforms that hold so much sway over our economy and democratic process.”
“Section 2. Agency Responsibilities. (a) Executive departments and agencies with authorities that could be used to enhance competition among online platforms (agencies) shall, where consistent with other laws, use those authorities to promote competition and ensure that no online platform exercises market power in a way that harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias.”
“… (b) Agencies with authority to investigate anticompetitive conduct shall thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws, as defined in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 12, or any other law intended to protect competition.”
Trump’s comments on Twitter seem to validate the complaints of conservatives that social media titans are stacking the deck against their voice.
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Bloomberg reported that social media companies have acknowledged to “erroneous” targeting of figures on the both sides of the political spectrum, but have fallen short of confirming a liberal bias in their operations.
“Social media companies have acknowledged in congressional hearings that their efforts to enforce prohibitions against online harassment have sometimes led to erroneous punishment of political figures on both the left and the right, and that once discovered, those mistakes have been corrected. They say there’s no systematic effort to silence conservative voices.”
It’s not a stretch to say that the only people who believe that are liberals.
Certainly something needs to be done where these social media moguls and heavy-handed policies against conservatives are concerned. However, all of these social media companies are private businesses and it might be a good idea to proceed cautiously when it comes to government interference in private business operation.
It’s a hard situation to navigate. The anti-trust approach could be an effective and fair way to bring justice to a situation in which conservatives have felt oppression at the hands of liberal bias.
No conservative wants the government interfering in private businesses. But if the titans of today’s social media world — very much including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — know that anti-trust oversight is waiting in the wings, they might be more careful about ensuring an even playing field for players from across the political spectrum.
And that doesn’t like a lot to ask.
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