Facebook tries to please everybody but can’t please anybody.
Both left and right disagree on the issues of censorship on the platform and the Facebook Oversight Board, but many do agree on one thing: that Facebook should be broken up.
2020 was a rough year for Facebook, between multiple congressional hearings, constant criticism, and two pending antitrust cases, neither side of the political aisle particularly likes Facebook, but for different reasons.
- The right hates Facebook because they censor conservatives. The left hates Facebook because they don’t censor the right enough
Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, Guy Rosen, bragged about the fact that Facebook removed 180 million election posts in a Nov. 19 call with reporters. During this election cycle, Facebook constantly added new rules for election posts, and censored hashtags like #sharpiegate and #stopthesteal. At the beginning of October, Facebook removed a post from President Donald Trump in which he claimed that COVID-19 is less lethal “in most populations” than the “Flu.”
Facebook also censored the New York Post story that claimed to expose alleged corrupt dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Facebook’s Policy Communications Director Andy Stone announced on Twitter that Facebook would be “reducing its distribution on our platform.” A recent post-election poll conducted by MRC found that 36 percent of Biden voters were not aware of this story.
The left, on the other hand, wants Facebook to censor conservatives more. In fact, multiple Facebook staffers reportedly quit, citing concerns over “US political content and hate speech,” according to Buzzfeed News. There are also many people who appear to disagree with Facebook’s handling of what it deems to be misinformation about COVID-19. “You can’t facilitate the spread of pandemic-related misinformation and then pat yourself on the back for helping at least one small business navigate that very pandemic. Well, you can, but it’s absurdly disingenuous,” FastCompany argued.
In fact, several companies decided to boycott Facebook’s ad services. “Brands like Unilever, Adidas, Ford, Lego, The North Face, REI, and Patagonia joined in to pause spending on Facebook for at least the month of July,” FastCompany reported. This boycott was reportedly intended to “force Facebook to stem the sheer amount of hate speech and divisive content on the platform and halt its long-standing tolerance of problematic posts by President Trump and his campaign,” but it “ but it didn’t dent the company’s bottom line.”
- The right thinks the Facebook Oversight Board takes censorship to a whole new level, but the left doesn’t think it goes far enough.
The 20-member board, which was announced in 2018, is intended to be the final authority on content removals from Facebook. The company claimed that the intent of the Board was to promote “free expression,” despite the fact that the Board’s entire job is to act as a “Supreme Court” for the platform, and is composed primarily of global leftists.
The left wanted more censorship, of course. Some leftist critics of Facebook decided to form their own “Real Facebook Oversight Board,” and planned to hold meetings “to discuss failures of platform policy,” according to the Verge. The so-called “Real” Facebook Oversight Board wanted Facebook to crack down further on election posts, according to the Verge. "This is an emergency response," Carole Cadwalladr said to NBC News. "We know there are going to be a series of incidents leading up to the election and beyond in which Facebook is crucial. This is a real-time response from an authoritative group of experts to counter the spin Facebook is putting out."
- The right and left do agree that Facebook should be broken up.
For all the disagreements, one area that the right and the left tend to agree on is that Facebook should be broken up. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 48 state attorneys general across both sides of the political spectrum filed two antitrust lawsuits against Facebook on Dec. 9. Both lawsuits focused primarily on Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, Facebook’s No. 1 competitor. The FTC’s complaint claimed: “Facebook has maintained its monopoly position by buying up companies that present competitive threats and by imposing restrictive policies that unjustifiably hinder actual or potential rivals that Facebook does not or cannot acquire.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.