I’m not the greatest Facebook fan in the world. In fact, most of the time I look upon the platform as a twisted sociological experiment, one in which we’re all dupes — suckered and manipulated into doing whatever Mark Zuckerberg wants.
Along those lines, it was recently made clear to me that Facebook can randomly ban users for upwards of 30 days if just one unmedicated yokel decides he or she doesn’t like the cut of your gib. You’re never given a chance to defend yourself — no three-strikes-and-your-out rule — nothing. Facebook bans people on the whim of strangers and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Likewise, Facebook randomly tinkers with its News Feed algorithm, giving Facebook the digital power to utterly destroy outside publications like The Daily Banter, for example. If Zuckerberg and his minion decide it’s time to muscle outsiders for ad revenue, they throttle the News Feed and bury all status updates linking to publications like ours, coercing us to pay for better News Feed placement even though users have specifically chosen to follow us and share our work.
But this is what we get when we rely upon a corporate platform that’s mostly unaccountable to the people, no matter how often Zuckerberg & Company pretend they are. Worse yet, Facebook could close up shop tomorrow eliminating upwards of 10 years of photos and autobiographical information, not to mention connections countless friends and family members.
That said, it’s a private business and, at least according to conservatives, only the free market should decide how Facebook runs its platform.
Nevertheless, the Senate Republicans are planning on conducting hearings based on specious allegations that Facebook is burying conservative news stories in its Trending widget. You know, because government shouldn’t interfere with or regulate corporations. After all, they’re people, my friends.
Late last night, Mark Zuckerberg posted a response to outraged conservative users. Among other things, Zuckerberg wrote:
“In the coming weeks, I’ll also be inviting leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum to talk with me about this and share their points of view. I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible.”
Nice. So, conservatives go all whiny diaper baby about a corporation making unfair decisions for itself, and Facebook bends over backwards to acquiesce to them.
Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if Fox News Channel did the same? Wouldn’t it be nice if AM radio stations, and corporations like Clear Channel, acquiesced to progressive listeners the same way? Both entities either bury liberal opinions, or they bring in weak liberals who are nothing more than punching bags for the stronger conservative hosts.
Naturally, conservatives will never capitulate to demands for equal time on the radio or on Fox News, where conservatism reigns. So, why do they expect it elsewhere? And why are they employing the force of the U.S. Senate to make sure private corporations present equal and balanced political ideas? If John Thune and the Senate GOP are truly determined to mandate fairness, why not just revive the Fairness Doctrine?
The answer is simple: they’re not interested in fairness or equal time. They’re merely interested in hectoring corporations until they reflect conservative orthodoxy. Because conservatives don’t mind regulation in every form… when it helps their cause.