(RepublicanPress.org) – Facebook has a long history of throttling conservative voices. Its CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg has tried to minimize concerns of the alleged mismanagement of his platform. He’s also made public efforts to crack down on political speech around election time.
However, many feels that Facebook’s efforts to control the flow of information appear arbitrary at best.
On August 31, Axios reported it learned that Facebook plans on reducing the reach of political-based content and current events in its news feed, reportedly based on user feedback. Supposedly, bad actors routinely turn to breaking news events as a means of spreading disinformation because new stories are infinitely more difficult to fact-check than old stories.
Facebook routinely receives criticism from lawmakers and the general public about its inconsistency regarding politics and current events. Could this new effort be the latest in a series of diversions intended to convince lawmakers and regulators the company can clean up its act without government oversight?
The latest move by Facebook to limit political content isn’t something new. The platform has taken similar actions in the past.
A Pattern Emerges
Facebook removed over 800 political pages for what it called “inauthentic behavior” about a month before the 2018 midterm elections. The so-called inauthentic behavior basically meant networking with other users to increase content reach, which is what social media is all about.
The public outcry was swift, with many lawmakers, news organizations, and private citizens accusing Facebook of engaging in political censorship and arbitrary enforcement of its terms and conditions. Rolling Stone published a scathing article on the scandal, concluding the platform proved, once again, its inability to regulate itself. The Washington Post and other legacy media sites took a similar approach to their coverage of the incident.
Facebook made a very public showing of self-regulation in the leadup to the 2020 general elections, starting with its removal of several accounts for reportedly attempting to interfere with elections. After receiving harsh criticism for its role in the 2020 presidential election, Facebook announced that it had banned roughly 1.3 billion accounts over a 90-day period for promoting “fake” and “harmful” content.
Former President Donald Trump took steps to limit legal protections for online platforms like Facebook by executive order. He also pushed Congress to consider modifying Section 230 of the Federal Communications Act as part of a broad plan to rein in social media sites. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to act on that suggestion.
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