RNC, Trump campaign warn Facebook and Twitter not to censor conservatives
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The heads of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign have called on Facebook and Twitter to guarantee that conservatives will not be suppressed on their platforms during this fall’s midterm election campaigns.
“We recognize that Facebook and Twitter operate in liberal corporate cultures. However, rampant political bias is inappropriate for a widely used public forum,” RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale wrote in the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “What’s more, the consequences to our democratic society are profound.”
The letter referenced numerous recent censorship allegations against the social media giants, including that former Facebook workers have admitted to manipulating the “trending news” feature to exclude topics of interest to conservatives, Facebook’s suppression of traffic to conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk, Facebook’s plan to implement a subjective “trust” system for prioritizing publishers, Twitter insiders’ admission of “shadow-banning” conservative users, and both platforms’ reliance on left-wing organizations for “fact-checking” and other advice.
In April, the conservative Media Research Center released a 50-page report detailing these and many other accusations of bias and censorship against the companies, as well as similar complaints directed at YouTube and Google.
“It has also come to our attention that Facebook is working with a third party to encourage voter registration,” the letter continued. “Though we agree that this is an admirable task in theory, we ask for transparency over how Facebook determines who sees these advertisements in their news feeds. This is to make sure that the new feature does not become essentially an in-kind contribution to liberal candidates.”
To allay these fears, McDaniel and Parscale have requested that the companies provide an explanation of their safeguards against political favoritism. “How will you safeguard voters’ access to fair content on your platform?” they asked. “How will you guarantee that conservative voices are no longer censored, and conservative news no longer buried or otherwise hidden?”
“As you conduct reviews to assess bias against conservative content, we ask for your assurances that transparency, neutrality, and protection of all speech will be core tenets of Facebook and Twitter operations, now and in the future,” the letter concluded. It requests a response by June 18.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment, according to CNN, and Facebook issued a statement claiming it does “not suppress content on the basis of political viewpoint or prevent people from seeing what matters most to them because doing so would be directly contrary to Facebook's mission and our business objectives.”
In April, Republican lawmakers confronted Zuckerberg with numerous examples of Facebook doing precisely that, though in each case the Facebook CEO insisted that each incident was an isolated error, not indicative of a broader pattern.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced that former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl would be leading an internal review to address concerns of anti-conservative bias and that the company would meet with the conservative Heritage Foundation to discuss the matter. However, critics have expressed alarm that Covington and Burling, the Washington, D.C. law firm where ex-Obama Attorney General Eric Holder is currently a partner, is also involved in the review. The Obama administration had a history of discriminating against conservative groups.