Conservatives Urge Fairer Social Media Policies

MRC Founder and President Brent Bozell, MRC Censorship Project Director Allen West, and 61 other conservative leaders issued the following joint statement on Tuesday urging leading social media companies to adopt four key principles in order to ensure that conservatives receive equal treatment on these important platforms:

Social media censorship and online restriction of conservatives and their organizations have reached a crisis level. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill only served to draw attention to how widespread this problem has become. Conservative leaders now have banded together to call for equal treatment on tech and social media.

Conservatives have encountered problems across platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Google, and its video platform YouTube especially. Social media firms have banned gun videos and rejected pro-life advertisements. They have skewed search results and adjusted trending topics in ways that have harmed the right. Firms have restricted and deleted videos, even academic content. Conservative tech employees have found their speech limited and their careers harmed. And top tech companies have given preferential treatment to anointed legacy media outlets that also lean left. These same tech titans then work with groups openly hostile to conservatives to restrict speech.

Here are four key areas that social media companies must address to begin to rectify their credibility problem:

1) Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns.

2) Provide Clarity on ‘Hate Speech’: “Hate speech” is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, and their interpretation often looks like an opportunity to silence thought. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it.

3) Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.

4) Mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom.

Social media companies must address these complaints if they wish to have any credibility with the conservative movement and its tens of millions of supporters. It is our hope they will do so in a positive way. If the social media firms engage the conservative movement with the spirit of cooperation, we will do our best to assist them.


Signed (affiliations are for identification purposes only):

L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center

LTC Allen B. West (USA, Ret)
Director, MRC Censorship Project
Media Research Center

Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Chairman, Media Fairness Caucus

Lila Rose
President
Live Action

Dr. Jerry A. Johnson
President & CEO
National Religious Broadcasters &
Internet Freedom Watch

Brigitte Gabriel
Founder and Chairman
ACT for America

Tony Perkins
President
Family Research Council

David Bozell
President
For America Inc.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan

Dave N. Bossie
President
Citizens United

Ken Cuccinelli, II
President
Senate Conservatives Fund

Morton Blackwell
Chairman
Weyrich Lunch

Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder
Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund

Ron Robinson
President
Young America’s Foundation

Tim Wildmon
President
American Family Association

James O’Keefe
CEO
Project Veritas

Richard Viguerie
Founder
American Targeted Advertising

Becky Norton Dunlop
Senior White House Advisor
President Ronald Reagan

Kelly Shakelford
President and CEO
First Liberty Institute

Cleta Mitchell
Political Law Attorney
Washington, DC

Penny Young Nance
CEO and President
Concerned Women for America

Kristan Hawkins
President
Students for Life of America

Mathew Staver, Esq.
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Phil Kerpen
President
American Commitment

Charles Copeland
President
Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Frank Gaffney
Founder, President, and CEO
Center for Security Policy

Brian Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage

Clifford D. May
Founder and President
Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Patrick Reilly
President
Cardinal Newman Society

Honorable Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.
President
Heartland Institute

Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer and Presidential Historian

William A. Donohue, Ph.D.
President
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

C. Preston Noell, III
President
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc

James Martin
Founder and Chairman
60 Plus Association

Francis DeLuca
President
Civitas Institute

Gary Bauer
President
American Values

Diana Banister
President
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs

Bob Adams
President
Revive America PAC

Elaine Donnelly
President
Center for Military Readiness

Ryan Bomberger
Chief Creative Officer
Radiance Foundation

Tricia Erickson
President, Angel Pictures & Publicity, Inc
Publisher of TheConservativePundit.net
Author

Richard P. Bott, II
President and CEO
Bott Radio Network

Saul Anuzis
President
60 Plus Association

Floyd Brown
Publisher
Western Journal

Mark Fitzgibbons
President of Corporate Affairs
American Target Advertising, Inc.

Susan A. Carleson
Chairman/CEO
American Civil Rights Union

Kevin Freeman
Founder
NSIC Institute

Angelo Codevilla
Senior Fellow
Claremont Institute

Paul Gessing
President
Rio Grande Foundation

T. Kenneth Cribb
President Emeritus
Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Colin Hanna
President
Let Freedom Ring

Gene Mills
President
Louisiana Family Forum

John Hinderaker
President
Center of the American Experiment

Everett Piper
President
Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Amy Kremer
Co-chair
Women for Trump

The Honorable Donald J. Devine
Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
President Ronald Reagan

Tom Donelson
Chairman
Americas PAC

Jeffrey G. Hunt
Chairman
Western Conservative Summit

George Landrith
President
Frontiers of Freedom

Patrick Brown
CEO
Liftable Media

Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization

Tom McCabe
CEO
Freedom Foundation

Avik Roy
President
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity


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