Is the internet anti-conservative? The claim that search engines and social media sites have a purposeful liberal bias has been passed around for years. This past week, President Trump has been demanding answers on his decreasing number of Twitter followers, as well as the temporary blocking of his social media advisor from Facebook.
These claims come at a time when conservatives are growing concerned that their presence on the internet is being unfairly censored. So, is it true that sites like Google, Twitter and Facebook discriminate against conservatives?
Back in December Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, spoke before the House Judiciary Committee. During this time, he was bombarded with questions about bias in Google results. This testimony had some hilarious exchanges, such as Pichai having to explain to Rep. Steve King that Google isn’t the maker of the iPhone. It also addressed serious questions about how Google compiles its results and why they appear to have a liberal bias.
Pichai explained to Congress as best he could how there is no innate bias and that Google uses unbiased algorithms to determine what results appear. Simply put, Google shows the sites that have the most related titles, the most related content and most prominently the most authority, which is determined by the number of times other sites reference back to that source. Since the majority of the reliable, mainstream news sources have a liberal bias, it follows that there won’t be a lot of conservative content on the front page of Google unless you purposefully search for it. So, to claim that Google is unfairly favoring liberal content over conservative content is nothing more than showing ignorance of how a search engine works.
The other big claim is that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook ban and remove conservative content and block anyone with a conservative viewpoint. Anyone who used social media during the lead-up to the 2016 election should know that this is entirely false. Not only were valid conservative viewpoints plainly visible, but all kinds of fabricated and inaccurate “conservative” media and ads, otherwise known as “fake news,” were rampant, and still are today.
I personally saw a fake story being passed around the web a couple of weeks ago claiming the Beto O’Rourke wanted to throw the wounded and elderly “in the garbage,” even including a fake quote. Many on the right of the political spectrum spread this information like the plague without even checking to make sure it is true. With things like this being spread around, it makes sense that social media sources would need to constantly monitor the content on their platforms to make sure it’s accurate. And in their cautiousness, they might accidentally remove a true source here and there, but this is nothing to throw a fit over.
Since it has been proven that Russian spammers, or “trolls,” were hijacking American media in order to create division in America, as well as a number of “bots” that have started spam posting, companies have had to be pretty heavy handed inblocking users. For example: President Trump’s social media advisor Dan Scavino was accidentally blocked. According to Facebook, he was reported as spam because he kept posting repetitive content, which is a marker of a bot. It was an honest mistake on Facebook’s part that they immediately rectified and really not something worth getting upset over.