On Tuesday, the Media Research Center (MRC) and the recently formed coalition, Conservatives Against Online Censorship, called on tech giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to release blueprints by September 1 for how they will address the four following key areas of concern:
● Provide Transparency: Conservatives need to know that they are being treated the same as all others. Social media companies have operated 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.
● 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, rendering them useless. 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. The definitions of “hate speech” must be clear, not subject to interpretation.
● Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with leftist 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.
● 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 April, the Media Research Center released an extensive report documenting incidents of bias and censorship against conservatives by Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Since its release, Facebook and Google have met with key members of the coalition, including MRC, and have begun to take steps toward rectifying some of the issues listed in the report. To date, Twitter has been unresponsive.
“While some progress has been made, our coalition and the conservative movement need to see a tangible commitment to change from all of these tech companies. We are calling on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to lay out the steps they plan to take to ensure their platforms are a place for conservatives and liberals alike,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.
“If Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube want to earn back the trust of the American people, they need to show us they are serious about eliminating bias and tackling the concerns expressed by the conservative movement. It is not enough to simply say you will do it. We need to know how you will get it done.”
Conservatives Against Online Censorship is a coalition of more than 30 conservative organizations calling for an end to bias and censorship online. For more information about Conservatives Against Online Censorship, please visit: http://stopcensoringconservatives.com/