Is Facebook suppressing free speech of the Conservatives or the Republicans in the US? This is what the Conservatives have blamed Facebook for. This criticism of the Conservatives, accusing Facebook of suppressing their free speech has come out in the wake of the revelation of a former Facebook employee who recently confessed that Facebook actually suppresses the free speech of Conservatives in the US by manipulating the “trending” news section of the social networking website. The charge is that the news curators of Facebook somehow alters its list of “trending topics” by suppressing conservative viewpoints.
The Republican National Committee has responded by, “It is beyond disturbing to learn that this power is being used to silence viewpoints and stories that don’t fit someone else’s agenda.”
Facebook has, obviously, denied the charge. Its spokeswoman has said that Facebook has very stringent guidelines in place to ensure “consistency and neutrality”.
“We take allegations of bias very seriously,” says Facebook. “Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.”
Could this really be happening? Could Facebook be suppressing free speech of the Conservatives?
If it is actually doing that, it wouldn’t be surprising. After all, there was this news that the employees of Facebook wanted to know if somehow they could use the platform to stop Donald Trump from becoming the president of America.
The people behind the social networking websites of course have political leanings and sometimes it is hard to resist the temptation. In India we have often felt that people behind Twitter manipulate trending topics to alter the political discourse. Trending topics favouring the Right have often vanished without any reason and trending topics favouring the Left or the Congress party often find favour with the website. The Twitter India head is quite notorious for his anti-BJP stand.
So yes, it wouldn’t be surprising if tomorrow it is established that Facebook actually suppresses the free speech of the Conservatives in the US.