Facebook released the interim findings of a year-long “anti-conservative bias” assessment today conducted by former Republican Senator Jon Kyl and his law firm Covington & Burling LLP. The 8-page report lays out six areas of concerns from conservative groups but provides no evidence of actual bias against conservatives on the platform.
Subsequent studies conducted by Media Matters have instead shown that conservative Facebook posts continue to perform the same or better than other posts on the social media platform. MediaJustice and other civil rights allies have been vocal in criticizing Facebook for launching their Kyl-led assessment at the same time it was conducting a civil rights audit meant to examine hate speech and harassment of communities of color on the platform.
Steven Renderos, Co-Executive Director at MediaJustice shared the following statement responding to today’s report: “This anti-conservative bias report is evidence that Facebook hasn’t stopped playing politics with the lives of its users. The company can’t pretend to be for protecting the civil rights of the most vulnerable Facebook users while also pandering to false narratives which enable threats to their civil rights. This report, itself led by a conservative with a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric, is a strategic distraction from the problems and actual hate being faced on the platform today by Muslims, Black activists, immigrants, and other communities of color. We will continue to demand that Facebook change its internal governance and approach to truly protect the civil and human rights of its users.”
Erin Shields, Field Organizer for Internet Rights at MediaJustice added:
“Rather than allowing anti-immigrant partisans like Jon Kyl to conduct assessments which protect the hateful agenda of the Trump administration, Facebook should be doing more to prevent this administration from using the platform to spread white supremacist hate — the kind which has led to actual violence against immigrant communities of color in El Paso and elsewhere across the country.”
MediaJustice is the host of the MediaJustice Network, a network of 100+ social and racial justice organizations. MediaJustice is also a principal partner in the Change the Terms Coalition.