On Tuesday morning, Facebook experienced some technical difficulties, throwing the internet into temporary chaos. In the midst of the turmoil engendered by the snafu, it was noted on Twitter that the two top stories on Facebook were both from Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, and most of the other top stories emanated from conservative sources. That triggered statistics guru Nate Silver, who voted for Barack Obama, to issue a tweet with seeming disappointment that Shapiro's stories and those from other conservatives were dominating Facebook, paving the way for Shapiro to point out that Silver's tweet seemed pretty darn partisan.
First there was the tweet acknowledging Shapiro's stories were numbers one and two:
Silver then reacted:
Shapiro then went to the heart of the matter:
Others echoed Shapiro:
Shapiro pointed out that he had asked Silver for a conversation before:
Someone tried to imply that conservatives had "gamed" the Facebook algorithm, and thus that was responsible for their success:
Shapiro fired back:
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress last April, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had some blunt talk about Facebook's apparent hostility to conservative views. He stated:
Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook in May of 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposely and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck.
In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk's page, with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, quote, “unsafe to the community.”
To a great many Americans that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?
Zuckerberg responded, "Senator, let me say a few things about this. First, I understand where that concern is coming from, because Facebook in the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place, and I — this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company, is making sure that we do not have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about. Now ..."
Cruz continued, "Let me — let me ask this question: Are you aware of any ad or page that has been taken down from Planned Parenthood?" Zuckerberg answered, "Senator, I'm not. But let me just ..." Cruz, persisting, "How about moveon.org?" Zuckerberg: "Sorry." Cruz: "How about moveon.org?" Zuckerberg: "I'm not specifically aware of those ..." Cruz:"How about any Democratic candidate for office?" Zuckerberg: "I'm not specifically aware. I mean, I'm not sure."