Sen. Mike Lee: Big Tech companies falsely claim no bias against conservatives — they may be violating law

Tech giants must be held accountable so they don't act deceptively or unfairly

On August 30, 2019, Facebook notified Lila Rose, the president of the pro-life group Live Action, that an independent fact-checker had rated two of her group’s videos as “false.” Facebook said it would therefore suppress the videos and notify all users who shared the videos that they had shared “false news.”

 The videos suppressed by Facebook claimed that “abortion is never medically necessary” — a claim that two pro-abortion activists said had been labeled as “false” by a group called “Science Feedback.”

After The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists came to Live Action’s defense, writing that fact-checkers “are in error to claim that elective abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother,” Facebook removed the “false” label from the videos and stopped suppressing their distribution.

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 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since admitted his company was wrong to suppress Live Action’s content and Facebook has changed the way it fact-checks content on its platform. But the suppression of conservative voices continues. 

 Just last month, Facebook banned pro-life ads from Susan B. Anthony List exposing former Vice President Joe Biden’s support for late-term abortion, this time relying on a “fact-check” from The Dispatch, a self-appointed fact-check organization. The Dispatch eventually retracted its fact-check, admitting it was completely wrong, and Facebook then reinstated the ads.

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 It is encouraging that Facebook admitted its fact-checkers were wrong and eventually stopped suppressing conservative ideas in both these examples, but why does this always seem to happen in just one direction? 

 On Wednesday I had an opportunity to ask the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to name one example of their companies suppressing a high-profile liberal person or group, including pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, or Emily’s List.

 The Twitter and Facebook CEOs completely failed to name one example.

 Considering how biased the employees of these Big Tech companies are, the constant suppression of conservative ideas is not surprising.

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This election cycle 92.83% of the money Facebook employees gave to federal candidates went to Democrats, and just 7.17% to Republicans. If you think that is slanted, Twitter is even worse.  This election cycle 99.3% of the money Twitter employees gave to federal candidates went to Democrats, and less than 1% went to Republicans. 

Now let me be clear, these employees have every right to donate to the candidate of their choice. But when any workplace is this biased towards one ideology it would be a miracle if its work was not biased against an opposing ideology. No wonder the employees at these very, very, Democratic companies keep suppressing conservative ideas while moderating content.

And the suppression of conservative ideas is continuing right through to Election Day. Just this week, Twitter suspended U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan for 20 hours for updating the American people on the construction of the southern border wall. The moderators at Twitter said the tweet violated their rules regulating “hateful conduct.” This is completely unacceptable. Fortunately, Morgan announced in a tweet Thursday night that Twitter had unlocked his account.

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Each of these Big Tech CEOs has made public statements claiming to operate his company without political bias. Clearly, that is false. These claims make me think there is a good case to be made that these companies are engaging in “unfair or deceptive trade practices” in violation of federal law.

If these companies are not already in violation of federal consumer law protections, then it may be necessary to review these laws to ensure that these companies are held accountable, ensuring that they must provide truthful information to consumers and are not able to act deceptively or unfairly in the marketplace.

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