Facebook is apparently testing out a new feature that appeared to allow posters to report content as hate speech.
On Tuesday afternoon, Facebook users saw an option to report every post in their feeds for “hate speech,” regardless of the context. Posts about food, cats, and even news links all had the option to report them for containing hate speech.
Facebook will be bringing in an adviser to address concerns about anti-conservative bias on the platform.
Axios reported on Wednesday that Facebook will be bringing in an advisory team led by former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl to tackle the issue of bias against conservatives. Kyl’s law firm, Covington and Burling, will allegedly be discussing the issue with conservative groups “directly” in order to “advise Facebook” going forward.
Conservatives have good reason to be worried about Facebook. Newly published information about the site’s Community Standards, which guide what content is allowed and what is prohibited, shows it has vague restrictions on what it deems to be “hate speech” and “hate organizations.” It also discusses how the site will handle “false news” and raises concerns about the groups that it partners with.
But the hate speech guidelines are the big issue. Facebook has designated “protected characteristics” including: “race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease.” It also includes “some protections for immigration status.”
Facebook wants you to know it’s not the only website that collects data from users.
The company addressed users’ concerns about privacy, which were highlighted during CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Capitol Hill last week, in a news release that tries to shift the conversation to Twitter, YouTube, and others participating in the same data-collecting methods that have earned Facebook scorn.
Like it or not, social media is the communication form of the future — not just in the U.S., but worldwide. Just Facebook and Twitter combined reach 1.8 billion people. More than two-thirds of all Americans (68 percent) use Facebook. YouTube is pushing out TV as the most popular place to watch video. Google is the No. 1 search engine in both the U.S. and the world.
War is being declared on the conservative movement in this space and conservatives are losing — badly. If the right is silenced, billions of people will be cut off from conservative ideas and conservative media.
It’s the new battleground of media bias. But it’s worse. That bias is not a war of ideas. It’s a war against ideas. It’s a clear effort to censor the conservative worldview from the public conversation.
The White House officially waded into the controversy surrounding conservative censorship on social media.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answered a question by a Breitbart reporter about conservative voices who say they have been suppressed online, particularly by Facebook. The reporter, Michelle Moons, asked Sanders, “Is the White House concerned with Facebook’s efforts to silence conservatives?”
The political highlight Tuesday was the joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees where Senators grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s conduct for hours. Of course, a focus for three major liberal news networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) was the probing questions regarding the information allegedly used in the 2016 election. But they ignored questions by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) regarding liberal bias and censorship of conservatives.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg grappled with questions of all stripes at Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the social media platform and the 2016 election, but it was Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse’s questions about hate speech that should alarm free speech advocates. Along with inquiries from Texas Republican Ted Cruz, Sasse stood out.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ran smack into questions about the site’s neutrality during his testimony in front of members of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) questioned Zuckerberg, asking if the site is a neutral platform for people to express different political opinions. Zuckerberg said he is “very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas.”