For as long as it has existed, Facebook has been criticized for censoring speech on issues ranging from nudity to history to politics. The company took the allegations of political bias so seriously that it commissioned a report to determine whether it consciously or unconsciously censors conservative thought on the platform. But the company’s findings only served to leave leaders from both political parties confused and unsatisfied.
The report examined several facets of Facebook’s conduct, including how it decides to rank content on its News Feed, how it defines hate speech, and what it designates as spam. The study did not find any meaningful evidence of censorship, but conservative critics say the site did not go far enough in its assessment. Meanwhile, liberals slammed the company for taking the allegations seriously in the first place.
“Facebook should conduct an actual audit by giving a trusted third party access to its algorithm, its key documents, and its content moderation protocols,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley said in a statement. “Then Facebook should release the results to the public.” Hawley also called the report a “smokescreen disguised as a solution.”
Of course, the real underlying problem isn’t whether or not Facebook censors speech — it’s that a private company has so much control over our online lives in the first place.
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