Prominent conservatives have published an open letter calling for social media companies to treat conservative users and employees in a fairer manner.
61 conservative leaders have issued a public statement encouraging social media firms to guard against the censorship of conservatives on their platform and the discrimination against conservative employees in their workplace, according to NewsBusters. The conservative leaders, including Media Research Center (MRC) Founder and President Brent Bozell and MRC Censorship Project Director Allen West, state that following a consistent pattern of censorship of conservatives views by tech firms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube, these companies must take action to prevent further censorship of conservative ideas.
The group noted the four key areas that these companies must focus on in order to rectify their “credibility problem.” The four areas listed are:
1) Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns.
2) Provide Clarity on ‘Hate Speech’: “Hate speech” is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, and their interpretation often looks like an opportunity to silence thought. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it.
3) Provide Equal Footing for Conservatives: Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.
4) Mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. That standard, the result of centuries of American jurisprudence, would enable the rightful blocking of content that threatens violence or spews obscenity, without trampling on free speech liberties that have long made the United States a beacon for freedom.
The published statement further reads:
Social media companies must address these complaints if they wish to have any credibility with the conservative movement and its tens of millions of supporters. It is our hope they will do so in a positive way. If the social media firms engage the conservative movement with the spirit of cooperation, we will do our best to assist them.
Read the full opening statement and the full list of conservative leaders supporting the statement here.