Facebook put the kibosh on CPAC 2016 by “now allowing” it to trend thus suppressing its critical message to many who wanted to know more about the Republican candidates and joining in the dialogue to help answer questions and much more.
Schlapp released this press statement and gave reasons why he’s not attending Facebook’s meeting, and we support their decision to sit this one out.
SCHLAPP PRESS RELEASE
This past weekend, a senior representative from Facebook contacted me to invite ACU to attend a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg and other conservative leaders to discuss the allegations that Facebook suppressed conservative content. We appreciate their invitation, especially since our organization and annual conference, CPAC, were specifically targeted.
However, we do not believe that the problem between Facebook and CPAC and the broader conservative community is merely a communication problem. Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg are drawing the wrong conclusion from the negative response from conservatives. It appears that they believe they can avoid having to answer for their actions by hosting conservative luminaries at their state-of-the-art headquarters.
Facebook has a history of agitating against conservatives and conservative policies, especially when it comes to ACU’s own conference, CPAC. The facts are:
- Facebook staff has admitted to suppressing content about CPAC.
- Facebook rejected ACU’s overtures for Facebook to play a meaningful role at CPAC.
- The deck is stacked: CPAC content egregiously underperforms on Facebook compared to Twitter and other platforms by factors of 10.
- The Facebook Trending News Chief, Tom Stocky is a maxed-out donor to Hillary Clinton.
- Of the 1,000 political donations from Facebook employees, 80% have gone to liberals.
- Facebook holds liberal positions on important issues such as privacy, property, and priests.
- We will not be attending this meeting. We know one meeting cannot possibly resolve all of the above-mentioned issues.
ACU would, of course, prefer to have real engagement with Facebook about whether pastors and priests can have full access to Facebook, or if we could come to terms on the FCC’s intrusive rulemaking on privacy, or how we could actually protect intellectual property owners.
Facebook has harmed its credibility with conservatives, but if they want to mend the relationship, we’re happy to sit down with their experts about how they can better strike a balance between sterile algorithms choosing news content and when a human curator decides to put a finger on the scale. If Facebook wants the benefit of the doubt, they need to start with complete transparency on how decisions are made concerning its newsfeeds.
Inducing people to sign-up for a Facebook account under the potentially fraudulent assertion that the company is neutral on news content has serious repercussions. We applaud Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune’s (R-SD/ACU Life Rating: 86%) efforts to ask the tough questions so Facebook users can know the truth.
This is much bigger than just having a meeting with “leading conservatives,” and winning the day’s news cycle. The Gizmodo story has exposed the rift between Facebook’s liberal perspective and the hundred of millions of Americans who self-identify as conservative. We hope to have substantive interactions that can begin to resolve these issues.
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