Facebook’s censorship of conservative news stories, including prohibiting them from attaining top spots on the ‘Trending’ feed, is presently a hot topic in right-wing circles. If the accusations are true, will the gentle nudging of Facebook users towards left leaning news sources leave a mark on the political landscape? Is this all just a vast right-wing conspiracy theory?
As it turns out, I have been a victim of this censorship multiple times. It did not shock me at all to find out it could be happening on a massive scale. On at least two occasions I have posted a conservative article to my personal Facebook account and proceeded to engage in lengthy, friendly debate with some of my more liberal friends. These debates typically happen at night and eventually my need to sleep overtakes my need to win, so we put things on ‘pause’ until morning. Twice I have woken up to return to the battlefield, only to find out that the article itself along with the dozens of comments have simply vanished.
There were no notifications from Facebook about any violations of the terms of service agreement. There was nothing to indicate that I had been reported for anything (my friends wouldn’t do that anyway). The posts just disappeared. Without my consent. These instances that I know happened makes me wonder how many articles I have shared, but did not spark enough discussion that I would look back on them later, were deleted without me noticing? How often do we really go back and read our own feeds? Who can remember everything they have posted/shared to realize something is amiss?
Facebook is a private company, free to promote or rally against any set of values it wishes. They shouldn’t be able to do it under the guise of being unbiased though if they’re going to promote one agenda and suppress another. It’s not an unreasonable request for users to be assured that what they stick on their wall stays stuck for as long as they wish, so long as you’re not breaking any rules. This controversy is just another strike against a company that seems to be morphing more and more into a well-oiled Orwellian machine.