Facebook is Biased; So What?

Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate to answer questions regarding the misuse of data by Cambridge Analytica. The highlights of the entire hearing can be watched here, for I will be focusing only on the confrontations Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse had with the tech billionaire.

The reason I focus on these two parts is because they most explicitly reveal that Facebook has a clear left-wing bias.

When Senator Cruz had his time, he first asked if Facebook was a neutral platform, to which Zuckerberg replied that not all content was free to share, and he even listed some boundaries. Afterwards, Cruz remarked that people may be concerned about the censorship of right-wing views, and he began to cite examples of conservative stories being censored on Facebook. When asked if any left-wing figures or stories had been censored in the same way as right-wing content, Zuckerberg admitted he was ignorant.

When Senator Sasse had his time, he focused on Facebook’s mission to censor and regulate hate speech. Sasse asked Zuckerberg to define hate speech, to which he replied that it was a “hard question.” Zuckerberg stumbled through the question and simply said that hate speech has something to do with “calling for violence.”

Both of these confrontations reveal two stunning realities. First, that Zuckerberg is unsure if any left-wing content had ever been censored. Second, that the Facebook chief could not pinpoint exactly what hate speech is, despite the fact that his company ensures to regulate it. From these points, it can be reasonably concluded that Zuckerberg’s ignorance of left-wing content being censored comes from that fact that it is not, and that Zuckerberg cannot define hate speech because his company likely just censors any speech deemed to be too controversial. In a place like Silicon Valley, “controversial” equates to conservatism and libertarianism. Therefore, Facebook is likely an extremely biased platform.

Although this may be the case, there does not appear to be any appropriate solution. Let us not forget that Facebook is still very much a private organization, so Mark Zuckerberg can run his business however he likes. It would be a betrayal of libertarian principles if regulations were implemented to ensure Facebook’s neutrality. The reality is that Facebook cannot be penalized for its bias, and so the private company should be granted its right to do whatever it wants, whether we like it or not.

 

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