According to an explosive new report by the Media Research Center, conservatives are falling behind in the war for cultural persuasion, and they are losing because Facebook, Google, and Twitter are exerting extraordinary dominance over the boundaries of acceptable conversation.
The watchdog group conducted a comprehensive study of the new social media landscape and came to some horrifying – if not entirely surprising – conclusions about the direction of the country’s discourse. What they found is that all three tech giants are using their power to limit conservative speech, promote progressive values, and color the narrative in a variety of ways.
“Voices are being silence, opinions are being censored, and conservative media are being suppressed,” said MRC president Brent Bozell in a statement accompanying the release of the study. “These tech companies claim they provide platforms to connect people and share ideas. However, when the only ideas permitted are from one side, any prospect of intellectual discourse dies. If these platforms merely serve as an echo chamber of liberal talking points, everyone loses. Our country is divided, and limiting free speech only makes matters worse.”
In the report, the authors take an especially dim view of Twitter, which they say has engaged in the most egregious forms of censorship against conservatives. Among their infractions, they have taken action against pro-life advertisements, they have restricted content from Republican candidates like Rep. Marsha Blackburn, they have banned conservative accounts under false pretenses (Russian bots), and they have been caught by undercover operatives admitting to the use of shadow bans to block conservative accounts they don’t like.
But Facebook and Google are hardly paragons of free speech themselves. The report cites multiple troubling incidents on both platforms – in Google’s case, this extends to not only their search algorithms but also their YouTube policies, which have been a nightmare for conservatives as well as pro-gun activists. In Facebook’s case, the company’s bias against conservative views is well known and was the subject of much questioning last week when Mark Zuckerberg went in front of Congress.
The question now is: What do we do about it? Some have suggested that the federal government should take a more proactive role in regulating these behemoth sites, but we would urge caution as far as that goes. There’s no bad situation that the heavy hand of government can’t make worse.
The answer, we think, lies in reports like these that draw awareness to the problem. Bias and unfairness thrive when they go undetected. When the light of truth shines on these practices, these companies are exposed like cockroaches and they lose their power to shape public opinion. None of these social media giants wants to restrict their services to just liberals; they want as broad a customer base as they can get. If they keep building a reputation for being unfair and hostile to Americans who support Republicans, liberty, the Second Amendment, President Trump, and other anti-left positions, they will eventually feel it in their bottom line.
And that, ultimately, is when they’ll take corrective action.