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US Rep: Americans Deserve Facts, Not Social Media Platform Censorship

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Americans deserve the facts, objectively reported. They know media bias is pervasive.

A recent Morning Consult poll found that only a quarter of voters now trust the media to tell them the truth, a record low.

The media savages President Donald Trump and portrays his administration in the worst possible light. Over 90 percent of his network news coverage has been negative, higher than any other president.

The muting of conservative voices by social media also has intensified. Social media companies have repeatedly censored, removed, or “shadow banned” conservative journalists, news organizations, and media outlets that do not share their liberal political views.

Facebook’s new algorithm for what users see on their timeline has disproportionately harmed conservative publishers. They’re getting fewer readers while their liberal counterparts haven’t been impacted to the same degree.

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Recently, Google’s employees easily convinced the company’s management to cut ties to contracts with the military.

And Google has long faced criticism from fact-checkers over manipulating search results to slight conservatives. Google also has deleted or blocked references to Jesus, Chick-fil-A, and the Catholic religion. When will it stop?

Also alarming are the guidelines being written by these companies to define “hate speech.” Facebook’s newly published Community Standards, which determine what content is allowed, define these terms for the American people.

It violates Facebook rules “to exclude or segregate a person or group.” So a conservative organization calling for illegal immigrants to be returned to their home country could be labeled a hate group by the platform and their content removed altogether.

Do you agree that social media platforms are squelching conservatives?

Some platforms have allowed liberal interest groups to determine what information is available to the public.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is allowed to influence platform guidelines and sometimes censor content that it deems “hate” speech.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a “hate map” that lists over 900 organizations. These include pro-life, religious freedom, and border security groups—all popular with the American people. And all are unfairly targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It’s no secret that social media organizations are typically controlled and run by individuals who lean liberal, sometimes radically so.

It will require a constant effort by these entities to neutralize this relentless bias if, in fact, they really want to do it.

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All media entities should give the American people the facts, not tell them what to think.

Lamar Smith is a Republican who has represented Texas’s 21st district since 1987.

A version of this Op-Ed appeared on The Daily Signal website under the headline “The Bias Problem Plaguing America’s Social Media Platforms.”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.

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