Here’s a tweet from a libertarian that made me think of this:
I would really, really love to hear someone at this hearing say “it is none of Congress’ damn business whether Facebook has a liberal bias, a conservative bias, or a Scientology bias”
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) April 11, 2018
Do you agree that presence and type of political bias at Facebook is none of Congress’s business? This seems wrong to me on a variety of levels. Let me try and sort them out.
1. In my view, Facebook is a gatekeeper of information and also a public forum–perhaps a provider of a major portion of the public square. If this is accurate (and it may not be), then would have significant power and responsibility over our society and politics;
2. Facebook seems like a monopoly. Even if #1 were true, if there were several other social media platforms that were similar, providing different points of view, #1 might not be a big concern.
Here’s another way to think of it. Suppose there were only one national newspaper–say, the Wall Street Journal or one major network TV news station, MSNBC, for example. Two questions: Would the presence and type of political bias at these outlets be Congress’s business? Would it be good for a democracy if these outlets had a strong political bias? I’m not sure about the legality of the the first question, but I would say that it would be bad if these outlets had a strong political bias.