News and Commentary

Conservative Leaders: 4 Principles Social Media Companies Must Embrace If They Want Any Credibility

   DailyWire.com

Dozens of conservative leaders issued a statement on Tuesday listing four key principles social media and tech companies must embrace to bring some fairness back to their platforms.

Headed up by MRC President Brent Bozell, a group of 63 conservative leaders urged social media and tech companies to provide true transparency, clarity on their definitions of “hate speech,” discontinue partnering with politically biased groups, and fully embrace the First Amendment:

1) Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns.

2) Provide Clarity on ‘Hate Speech’: “Hate speech” is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, and their interpretation often looks like an opportunity to silence thought. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it.

3) Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.

4) Mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom.

In his presentation of the four principles, Bozell provides some context for conservatives’ alarm over the increasingly biased practices of many prominent social media companies, which he describes as having reached “crisis level.”

Conservatives have encountered problems across platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Google, and its video platform YouTube especially,” Bozell writes. “Social media firms have banned gun videos and rejected pro-life advertisements. They have skewed search results and adjusted trending topics in ways that have harmed the right. Firms have restricted and deleted videos, even academic content. Conservative tech employees have found their speech limited and their careers harmed. And top tech companies have given preferential treatment to anointed legacy media outlets that also lean left. These same tech titans then work with groups openly hostile to conservatives to restrict speech.”

Bozell concludes by saying if these companies want to maintain any credibility among conservatives — tens of millions of their users — they must “engage the conservative movement with the spirit of cooperation, we will do our best to assist them.” Read the full statement here.

As the Daily Wire has highlighted, one of the biggest changes on a social media platform in recent months is Facebook’s much-publicized change in February to its newsfeed algorithm, which has, as multiple studies have shown, hurt conservative-leaning sites while left-leaning sites have generally benefited. Here’s Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro on how to take back control of your newsfeed:

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