It’s been two weeks since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with leaders of conservative media to “calm down” accusations that it was censoring conservative news and opinion. After the meeting, one of the attendees, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, characterized the meeting “between Zuckerberg and conservative leaders as generally positive and ‘cordial’ – but, also expressed a cautious wait-and-see reaction to Facebook’s promises of reform, citing the social media giant’s loss of public trust.” He also said “We’ll see how the [internal] investigation turns out.”
Bozell’s caution was well-founded. The internal investigation took only a few days, and Facebook found “no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature.” Even though they accepted no blame, the social media site took action (sort of).
Facebook made inconsequential changes to their Trending Topics feature and continued its failure to address the anti-conservative bias affecting individual member pages.
On May 23rd, Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel posted on the Facebook newsroom page the steps it would take to fix the Trending Topics page, including:
- Changing the terminology in their Guidelines to make them more clear,
- Retraining all reviewers to make sure they don’t make choices based on ideologies,
- Expanding oversight, dropping the use of external websites and news outlets to identify, validate or assess the importance of particular topics, and
- Expanding Help Center content on Trending Topics to provide more information about this feature and how it works.
Not one of those changes will fix the biggest part of the Facebook censorship problem, the accusation that Facebook censors individual member pages, blogs, smaller media outlets, and discussion groups reflecting a conservative point of view. Not one of those changes would have prevented the censorship already exposed here at The Lid.
Fox News’s Todd Starnes would still be placed in the Facebook penitentiary, for writing words such as “Paula Deen,” “Chick-fil-A,” “the NRA,” “Cracker Barrel,” “Gideon’s Bible,” and “Jesus saves” in the paragraph below, which according to someone at the social media site, went against its community standards.:
“I’m about as politically incorrect as you can get. I’m wearing an NRA ball cap, eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich, reading a Paula Deen cookbook and sipping a 20-ounce sweet tea while sitting in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair with the Gaither Vocal Band singing ‘Jesus Saves’ on the stereo and a Gideon’s Bible in my pocket. Yes sir, I’m politically incorrect and happy as a June bug.”
The personal page called “Locked and Loaded” still would have been sanctioned for posting the picture below meant to honor Marine Lance Corporal Skip Wells, who was killed in Chattanooga by an Islamic terrorist.
In fact, Facebook is still doing it. For example, it removed the benign post below, which claimed that Donald Trump was not anti-Muslim:
That was the good part. In response, one of the Distain4Plebs moderators mocked the censorship – and was promptly banned:
But, Facebook wasn’t done, because when Lauren Southern complained that her friend was banned, first they removed her complaint:
And then Lauren was put in the penalty box:
While it’s only a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with conservative leaders, some things have become quite apparent. Per their internal study, the company does not believe it did anything wrong with its Trending Topics, and it still wont address the larger problem: censorship of individual Facebook pages.
In fact, based on the story above told by Lauren Southern, Facebook is even censuring people complaining about Facebook censorship.