White House: Everyone should be free to speak on Facebook, other social media platforms
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration has weighed into the ongoing controversy over suppression of conservative speech on social media.
During a press briefing at the White House Wednesday, Breitbart News reporter Michelle Moons asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the administration was “concerned with Facebook’s efforts to silence conservatives.” Several lawmakers pressed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the subject during his congressional testimony Monday and Tuesday.
“Certainly, the White House would also support not just conservatives, but everyone having the ability to speak freely on a number of platforms across this country,” Sanders replied, “and certainly support the Constitution that provides that right.”
Sens. Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Steve Scalise, Fred Upton, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers were among the lawmakers to raise the subject. They asked Zuckerberg about analysis finding that Facebook’s algorithm changes disproportionately impacted conservative publications, Facebook flagging a Catholic university’s ad featuring the San Damiano Cross as “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent” and Facebook rejecting a Michigan Republican candidate’s campaign ad.
Multiple lawmakers also pressed him on his website suppressing the reach of Diamond and Silk, two sisters behind a series of popular video blogs supporting Trump. Zuckerberg claimed that every example was an error that had since been corrected, rather than part of a deliberate pattern. He also said that his team had already contacted Diamond and Silk to resolve the issue.
The bloggers said on Tuesday that nobody from Facebook had contacted them about the situation, despite Facebook’s previous claims to have done so. On Thursday morning, Diamond and Silk announced that “Facebook has finally reached out to us through Twitter.” They pledged to keep their audience informed of further developments.
During his questioning, Cruz warned Zuckerberg that if Facebook was transitioning to a “neutral public forum” that exercised editorial preference for and against certain speech, it could potentially be held liable for allowing content deemed defamatory or otherwise damaging.