(CNSNews.com) – Americans have “every right to know” if Facebook has a liberal bias and is censoring conservative content on its “Trending” topics list, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said Thursday.
“I think liberal media bias is a huge problem among TV, cable, newspapers and social media. It’s all-pervasive,” Smith told CNSNews.com.
“So the charges by the former [Facebook] employees that there was a liberal bias at Facebook did not surprise me. And to my knowledge, it has not been adequately addressed.”
Smith added that Congress should not play any role in the ongoing controversy. “But I do think the American people should insist that all the media, including Facebook, are unbiased and objective,” he said.
“I don’t think the government has any role. The First Amendment allows Facebook to say whatever they want to say,” he told CNSNews.
“However, I do strongly believe that the American people have every right to know whether a source of their information has a liberal bias or not.
“Facebook has a huge following. I think somewhat on the order of two-thirds of the American people turn to Facebook for at least some of their information. I’m for truth in advertising. If Facebook has a liberal bias, I think the American people need to know that. And they are already skeptical of the media bias.”
A group of conservative leaders were invited to meet with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday at the social media platform’s Silicon Valley headquarters after several unnamed former employees reportedly told told Gizmodo that Facebook “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers” from its “Trending” topics list.
“Had I been at the meeting, I would have asked him: ‘Who should we believe, you or your employees who were very specific about the liberal bias at Facebook?’” Smith told CNSNews.com.
“And I don’t know if he was asked that question, but I have not myself seen a satisfactory answer or response to the accusations by the former employees.”
“If Facebook does have a liberal bias, I hope it will be corrected,” Smith told CNSNews. “But because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s unwillingness to admit any bias, I’m not entirely confident that the problem is going to be solved,” the congressman added.
“Facebook has an obligation and a public responsibility not to silence conservative voices,” Smith said in a May 11 speech on the House floor.
“Facebook should give the American people an honest appraisal of the news when it comes to deciding what’s trending on their website. Anything less is intentionally trying to manipulate public opinion to promote a liberal agenda.”