The American Conservative Union isn’t buying Facebook’s attempt to wriggle out of the Trending News controversy. The CPAC organizers are now urging Congress to “vigorously scrutinize” the social network.
After Facebook released the results of an internal investigation into alleged progressive bias at the company (shocker — Facebook found itself not guilty), ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp released a statement declaring the company’s efforts to be insufficient and urging Congress to take action:
ACU has been vindicated. This issue is still unresolved even after these admissions of wrongdoing by Facebook. We will continue to press this matter until we are satisfied that conservatives will be fairly treated.
Facebook has admitted to harming CPAC, but they have not called us to apologize, and they have failed to explain what they did. This two-week long investigation (it’s amazing how fast an internal investigation can be conducted) seems to scratch the surface. Sen. Thune has done the right thing to press them and we urge Congress to vigorously scrutinize Facebook to prevent deceptive practices and false advertising in the future.
This followed an admission by Facebook, published in the investigation summary the company sent to Senator John Thune, that the company did block a CPAC-related story from trending in 2016.
In 2016, although topics related to CPAC were accepted on other days of the conference, one topic related to CPAC itself was not accepted on its first day, March 2, 2016. Our investigation concluded that this decision was likely the result of the fact that on that day—the day after the Super Tuesday electoral contests—reviewers accepted at least 15 topics related to the Republican presidential primary. Two of the most popular CPAC stories in the news that day related to criticisms by aides to Senator Marco Rubio regarding Donald Trump’s scheduled CPAC speech and Ben Carson’s announcement that he would not attend CPAC because he was dropping out of the race. Each of these CPAC-related stories was likely subsumed within broader topics—including Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson—that were accepted by reviewers the same day.
The ACU has been among the most strident critics of Facebook during the controversy. While some prominent conservatives including Glenn Beck and Brent Bozell rushed to defend the good intentions of the company, the ACU flatly rejected Mark Zuckerberg’s offer of a place at his meeting with conservatives last Wednesday, which they branded an attempt to “win the day’s news cycle.”