PJ Media posted an article yesterday about a recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg.
The article reports:
During this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Facebook is increasingly trying to work with governments to determine what political speech it does and does not allow. Oh sorry, I mean: what kind of political ads it is willing to approve.
In the particular example Zuckerberg cited, in 2018, American pro-life groups wanted to run advertisements for Facebook users in Ireland. This is because the Irish were about to vote in a referendum on whether abortion should be legalized.
When Facebook saw the ad requests, the company contacted the Irish government asking whether this should or should not be allowed. “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.'”
In other words, Facebook could do as it pleased. There was no legal reason to disallow the ads. But what did Facebook do? You guessed it:
“We ended up not allowing the ads.”
When Mark Zuckerberg made this decision, Facebook became a publication–not a platform. The decision was an editorial decision–not a legal decision. The decision was consistent with the political ideology that Facebook has supported in the past. This is the point at which Facebook becomes dangerous. Much of the younger generation gets their news through social media. If Facebook is making editorial decisions based on political ideology, they are not acting as an honest broker of news. Our younger generations are not hearing the complete story–they are hearing a politically biased version–no different from the mainstream media.
There are no laws against Facebook making editorial decisions, but its users need to be aware that they are not getting both sides of any story.