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April 16 2018

Millennial Monday: Facebook Censorship of Conservatives Prevents a Balanced Newsfeed

by Betsy Pearson

Late last week Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, testified before Congress on recent privacy and consumer protection issues. Facebook has been the social media cornerstone of the millennial generation. However, after it was found that Facebook censored Diamond & Silk for promoting “unsafe” content, we might question what else is being censored on our Facebook feeds.

In response to Zuckerberg’s testimony, Diamond & Silk argued that Facebook’s actions were “Deliberate bias censorship and discrimination. These tactics are unacceptable and we want answers!”

Diamond & Silk were censored because Facebook had made an “enforcement error” in labeling two African American, conservative, Trump supporters as dangerous to viewers. Though Zuckerberg never fully answered why they were targeted, it is clear that the Facebook algorithm is biased.

“Conservatives and blacks both expect social media platforms like Facebook to be a place where they can share their ideas. These groups could be allies in seeking greater objectivity from social media websites by taking a principled position on freedom of speech,” explains IWF’s Patrice Onwuka

The content you see on your Facebook feed has been vetted by the all-knowing Facebook algorithm. As a result, your Facebook feed is censored before you even see it. This is a dangerous phenomenon in itself, because this creates an echo-chamber effect on your social media where the free market of ideas is stifled, leaving the consumers unchallenged and unable to educate others.

It is no secret that millennials are addicted to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But when we turn to these apps, we expect an uncensored newsfeed. A balanced news feed would have posts from opposing sides of an argument, and this is an unattainable feat while conservative voices are getting censored.

Just as we take ‘fake news’ websites with a grain of salt, it is time to do the same with your Facebook feed. We must wonder, what are we seeing, and what are we not seeing?

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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