While questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the European Parliament on May 22, UKIP founder and MEP Nigel Farage said that Facebook was instrumental in helping Brexit pass and Donald Trump get elected, but now had changed its algorithms to restrict conservative content.
Contrary to Zuckerberg's repeated claims, Facebook today is not a "platform for all ideas," said Farage, and "mainstream" conservatives "are being willfully discriminated against." He added that it may be time to establish a "social media bill of rights to basically protect free speech."
During his questioning, Farage, a Member of the European Parliament, said to Zuckerberg, "The one slight problem I have – I’m watching very carefully the testimony you gave on Capitol Hill. Time and again, people asked you, is this genuinely a neutral, political platform? And you come up with the same line again and again -- it’s well-crafted -- you say that Facebook is a platform for all ideas."
“Now historically, of course, it’s true, that through Facebook and other forms of social media there is no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian elections could ever possibly have happened," said Farage, the founder of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). It was social media that allowed people to get round the back of mainstream media."
“Now, perhaps you’re horrified by this creation of yours and what it’s led to, I don’t know," said Farage. "But what is absolutely true is that since January of this year, you’ve changed your modus operandi, you’ve changed your algorithms, and it has led directly to a very substantial drop in views and engagements for those that have got right-of-center political opinions."
He continued, “The facts are very clear. Just look at President Trump’s numbers, which are at a much smaller scale. Look at mine. Look at thousands of other conservative commentators. On average, we’re down about 25% over the course of this year. And, you know, that’s happening on a 'platform for all ideas.'"
“I’m not talking here, Mr. Zuckerberg about extremism," said Farage. "I’m not talking about encouraging violence. I’m not talking about hatred of anybody. I’m talking about people who have majority, mainstream opinions."
"Frankly, I feel they are being willfully discriminated against," he said.
“What interests me is who decides what is acceptable?" said Farage. "Who are these people you referred to earlier, these third-party fact-checkers? Who are these people? Why is there no transparency in this process at all?"
"I’m not generally someone that calls for legislation on the international stage," he said, "but I’m beginning to wonder whether we need a social media bill of rights to basically protect free speech. … Would you accept that today Facebook is not a platform for all ideas that is operated impartially?"
On Twitter, May 22, Farage stated, "Stop telling us Facebook is a 'platform for all ideas.' The evidence shows your algorithms censor conservative opinions."
A new report by the Media Research Center, Censored! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech, details numerous instances of deliberate censorship of conservative content on the major social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google.
Facebook and Twitter combined reach 1.8 billion people, and 68% of Americans use Facebook. The left-leaning Facebook and other social media platforms are dialing down and restricting, burying conservative information.
"War is being declared on the conservative movement in this space and conservatives are losing -- badly," states the MRC report. "If the right is silenced, billions of people will be cut off from conservative ideas and conservative media. It's the new battleground of media bias. It's a war against ideas. It's a clear effort to censor the conservative worldview from the public conversation."
Disclosure: The MRC is the parent organization of CNSNews.com.