Throughout this year, the Democrats have slammed Facebook with a huge ferocity. In November, they claimed that the social media giant is biased toward the conservatives and is favoring the right-wing. According to them, Facebook’s bias towards the conservatives is giving US President Donald Trump an edge.
However, Facebook noted a reason behind the amount of engagement that the right-wing is getting on the platform, like the movie “The Platform”. It added that it was not its platform’s algorithm that favored the conservatives. In fact, the company said that it has long maintained the neutrality of its platform. Rather, Facebook is not biased with the right-wing, but the right is performing better at connecting with people at a visceral level, said the company.
Facebook Proves That It is Not a Biased Platform
According to a Facebook executive during an interview with Politico— an online news outlet– right-wing popularism has always been more engaging. The pages ran by the conservatives drive high engagements and interactions. The executive said that the content of those pages touches topics such as protection, nation, the other, fear, and anger. For this reason, those pages are able to speak to extreme and primitive emotions.
Moreover, the Facebook executive noted that the conservatives were already receiving high interactions even back in the 1930s. Social media do not invent meaning, the popularity that it is receiving now. However, a lot of people think that social media are being biased because they see the right-wings popularity mirrored there. The executive also added that the same principle applies to why tabloids are better than the Financial Times, which is also a human thing. People respond more to things that could drive their emotions rather than a dry coverage. This is something that was not invented 15 years ago when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first launched Facebook.
Facebook Measures Election-related Posts With the Most Engagement in the US
Facebook measured posts with the most engagement in the US in terms of Facebook likes, comments, reactions, and shares. This was done via the Facebook-owned tool Crowdtangle during the final stretch of the 2020 campaign. The results showed that conservative voices outside the mainstream media had received the most engagement. They were Dan Bongino, Ben Shapiro, David Harris Jr., Franklin Graham, as well as Blue Lives Matter.
In addition, the personal Facebook pages of the US president also regularly make it to the top of the list. This allowed Trump to become a publisher in his own rights and navigate around the traditional media.
On the other hand, Facebook posts published by the left-wing gets into the top 25 much less frequently. Included on the left-wing pages that occasionally hit high levels of engagement are the Facebook-savvy Occupy Democrats and Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich
Furthermore, the growth of right-wing content on social media platforms has enraged liberals. They even accused Facebook of groveling to the right because it fears being painted as biased towards the left-wing. In addition, it has brought up the argument between the left and the right over the social media platform a few weeks before this year’s election. Both parties are also trying to influence the policies of the social media giant.
Right-Wing Racists Stoke Racism
The US president has effectively utilized Facebook in 2016 to help him make up for a significant disadvantage in terms of cash. After that, the social media platform has become a pivotal weapon for the electoral war. So far, Trump and his opponent Joe Biden have spent more than $173 million for advertisements on the platform. In addition, both of them are expected to spend tens of millions more. Facebook’s political ad tracker released this data. Specifically, Trump is expected to spend over $109 million more, while Biden would spend more than $64 million.
Yet, ads are only one of the many battlegrounds. In fact, both parties are fighting for high engagement in terms of organic content. This is something that is much more widely seen. Essentially, the two parties want to be known through organic content instead of earned media, paid TV ads, and coverage of candidates by news outlets.
The focus of the parties on organic posts is also the reason why the success of Shapiro and Bongion has frustrated the left-wing so much. It also prompted them to accuse that Facebook is biased towards the conservatives.
Media Matters is a liberal group that is most popular for tracking conservative TV and radio. According to spokesperson Laura Keiter, the liberal group is now monitoring 5,250 Facebook groups and pages that they have identified as either influential or of concern.
On the other hand, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said that something on Facebook is reflexively or intentionally mollifying the right-wing.
Facebook Luckily Understands Hate Speech Isn’t Free Speech
Adam Conner, a former employee of Facebook in Washington from 2007 to 2014 and is now the vice president of Tech Policy at the liberal Center for American Progress Action, had an interview with Politico. There, he said that it is absurd for Facebook to say that what is happening is playing out in a neutral way. “This feels like an abdication of responsibility,” he said. Conner also noted that Facebook is not a mirror and that its newsfeed’s algorithm is an accelerant.
Furthermore, the Biden campaign had also slammed the social media giant when it argued that the success of the right-wing on the platform reflects society.
Bill Russo, the spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said that Facebook is not only a mirror but a funhouse mirror. He added that the platform has distorted and twisted our world and politics into something that is barely recognizable. Disinformation and conspiracy theories are also rampant on the platform, according to Russo.
In addition, the spokesperson said that this is not a feature of society that people must accept. Rather, it is a choice to make an algorithm that feeds the distrust and polarization.
Biden Campaign Accuses Facebook of Allowing Dangerous Claptrap
Facebook is facing a serious amount of criticism from both the Republicans and the Democrats over policy issues. Yet, the social media giant remains firm on its claim that it is applying its rules impartially.
The Biden campaign is calling out Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the social media platform Facebook. According to them, the executive had regression amid misinformation circulating around Facebook. They also claimed that the social media giant has singled out claims of voter fraud from the re-election team of US President Donald Trump.
The Biden campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, wrote a letter addressed to Zuckerberg last September 28– just ahead of the first presidential debate.
What the Biden Campaign is Focusing On
In the letter, Dillon emphasized a recent campaign posting by the US president. The said campaign featured his son. Donald Trump Jr. accusing Democrats of planning to continue with fraudulent ballots. However, this claim by Trump’s campaign does not have any evidence.
As a result, Facebook labeled the campaign posting. The label said that voting by mail has a long history in terms of trustworthiness. Moreover, Dillon said that the Biden campaign asked the social media giant to take a step further and take the video down.
According to the group, no company that claims itself as a force of good in democracy and that promises to take voter suppression seriously would spread such dangerous claptrap to millions of individuals. Dillon added that taking down Trump’s campaign posting should have been the easiest call under Facebook’s policies. Yet, the video remains on the platform up to now.
The Democrats Should Buy Facebook Followers
Trump’s campaign posting claimed that his opponents are planning to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel the votes of other people and can overturn the election. Biden campaign demanded the Facebook CEO to provide a written explanation about how such a baseless claim could stay on the platform and how it did not violate Facebook’s policies. However, the Biden campaign said that Zuckerberg provided none. This is the best evidence that Democrats on Facebook need to buy Facebook followers to balance the influence.
In addition, Dillon slammed Facebook for not taking the other posts published by the US presidents. The posts in question are where he encouraged his supporters to attempt to vote at their polling place despite if they have already submitted a mail-in ballot unless they have made sure that the ballot was counted. After Trump told the residents of North Carolina to make such a move, the state’s official reminded the voters that it is illegal to vote twice. The officials also said that showing up to the polling stations on the day of the election even if they have already submitted a mail-in ballot would make lines longer and riskier, considering that there is a pandemic.
Trump Campaign Responds to Biden Campaign’s Letter
Tim Murtaugh, the spokesperson for the Trump campaign, responded to Dillon’s letter to Zuckerberg. According to him, Silicon Valley cannot help Joe Biden in hiding his 47 years of failure.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Facebook noted that the social media giant is applying its policies as it should.
Both Facebook and Twitter added warning labels on the US president’s posts. However, none of the two social media giants particularly called out the illegality of voting twice. Twitter hides the president’s tweets that violate its policies against voter misinformation. This step requires users to click on the tweet before they can view them. On the other hand, the Biden campaign is still demanding for Facebook to take the posts down.
Facebook also released a statement in line with the issue. According to the tech giant, many Republicans think that Facebook should take one course. On the contrary, many Democrats think that they should do the exact opposite. Facebook also noted that it had faced criticism from Republicans, claiming that it is biassed against conservatives. In addition, the same amount of criticism is given to the tech company by the Democrats for not taking additional steps in restring the exact content. Furthermore, the social media giant emphasized that it has rules in place to protect the election and free expression’s integrity. It also said that it would continue to apply those rules impartially.
Conservatives on Facebook Get Real Followers To Coordinate Emotional Harrassment
Furthermore, Facebook announced updates that are intended to help states get the poll workers that they need. The social media giant has also taken a number of moves since the 2016 election. Its aim is to protect its platform from manipulation by bad actors who are seeking to undermine the democracy of the US.
Government officials from the US found out that Russia had been able to buy political ads and spread disinformation on Facebook as well as other social media platforms during the last presidential election. For this reason, the social media giant implemented stricter measures for advertisers who want to place political posts. It also stepped up its moderation efforts as well as created a database for searchable political ads.
Yet, many Democrats are still saying that the efforts done by Facebook are still not enough. Just like what Democratic Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub and other critics have suggested, the social media platform has taken down advertisers’ capability to target voters on a microscopic scale.
Facebook also noted recently that it would not allow politicians to lie in political ads. However, as mentioned, it did not take down posts from US President Donald Trump. But earlier last month, the social media giant said that it would ban new political advertisements from running the week ahead of the upcoming elections on November 3. It also noted that it would remove posts saying that COVID-19 will infect voters if they vote in polling stations.
By contrast, Twitter has taken more aggressive steps when it comes to political content. For instance, it fact-checked the tweets published by Trump.
On the other hand, the Biden campaign manager emphasized that their team will remain vocal regarding the issues. She also noted that they would be calling out the failures that will occur over the coming 26 days.