November 18, 2016
Take it from someone who has done digital right-wing politics, Facebook has been suppressing conservative groups and publications for years. The same anti-Obama meme that reached a million folks in 2012 will struggle to reach a quarter of that today. It’s not a conspiracy, especially when Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg told Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, “I still want HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] to win badly,” in an email last year.
Zuckerberg & Co. really do think we”re that stupid. The fabricators at Facebook are convinced that focusing on isolating phony news channels will win back the public’s trust.
That ain”t happening“which is a great thing. The more Zuckerberg’s sincerity is doubted, the better.
Now comes the rote libertarian disclaimer: As a private company, Facebook can do whatever it wants with its platform. If it wants to outright ban self-identified conservatives, jolly good. If it wants to become a propagandist for Islamic theology, that’s cool too.
The issue is that with so many users, Facebook wields enormous influence over public opinion. Over one-sixth of the world uses the platform to share news, look at cat pictures, and argue with friends and strangers. Charles Foster Kane could only dream of having so many eyes on his own media megamachine.
So it would be silly to encourage people to abandon Facebook now, given how useful it is for keeping in touch with family. But conservatives should be wary of the information coming across their screens. Zuckerberg’s personal panopticon is not to be trusted.
In the meantime, keep posting those frog memes. Beguiling our technological overseers isn”t the highest form of patriotism, but it’s definitely up there.