Finley: Ask Zuckerberg why he censors conservatives

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Here’s a question I’d like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer this week during his grilling by Congress: Does his social media site use its censorship powers to suppress the sharing of political views that don’t align with its own liberal tilt?

Conservatives believe that to be the case, and there is evidence to support the suspicion.

Last week in Michigan, for example, Aric Nesbitt, a state Senate candidate and former Lottery director, attempted to use Facebook’s paid boost function to enhance the reach of his campaign announcement.

His message: “I’m proud to announce my candidacy for State Senate. Lansing needs conservative, West Michigan values, and as our next State Senator, I will work to strengthen our economy, limit government, lower our auto insurance rates, balance the budget, stop sanctuary cities, pay down government debt and be a Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment (lawmaker).”

That’s pretty standard Republican fare. And apparently that makes it unacceptable by Facebook’s standards.

Instead of taking Nesbitt’s money, the site notified him the content of his ad “wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies. We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence.”

Zuckerberg should be called on by Congress to explain what is so disrespectful, shocking, sensational or violent about a pledge to strengthen the economy, limit the size of government, balance the budget and stand up for life and gun rights.

“They apparently don’t appreciate our conservative, Midwestern values,” Nesbitt says.

Worse than that, they also apparently don’t want those values to get a fair airing.

What happened to Nesbitt is not a one-off. Other conservatives say Facebook has suspended their accounts for expressing views no more passionately than liberals do on their accounts. You want to see disrespect, sensationalism and violent threats, take a look at the Facebook pages of the anti-Trump Hollywood activists.

Also last week, the commentator team of Diamond and Silk, black conservative women who frequently appear on Fox News, was censored by Facebook after being deemed “unsafe to the community.” The two are as much comedy team as anything else, and are certainly no more outrageous than (take your pick of any of today’s deranged actors).

This sort of suppression of political viewpoints matters because Facebook and other social media sites have enormous control over the news and information their users see.

Their ability to manipulate voter attitudes by withholding certain political views and highlighting others amounts to meddling in the electoral process. As such, they should at least be listed as in-kind contributors to the Democratic Party.

Zuckerberg should not be allowed to walk out of the Capitol until he gives a full explanation of what Facebook finds so dangerous and violent in expressions of support for accountable government and individual rights.

Catch “The Nolan Finley Show” weekdays 7-9 a.m. on 910 AM Superstation.