Is the Media Censoring Political Opinions?
“About 72% of Americans believed that it is likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints they find objectionable,” according to a Pew Research study.
While some people believe that this censorship of political opinion is an infringement upon one’s freedom of expression, some recent political opinions, especially those cast by Donald Trump on topics such as the prevalence of fraud in mail-in voting, can be very misleading, if not outright false. As a result, in these instances, social media companies are forced to censor such posts for noncompliance with the company’s disinformation policies, and later these same companies are blamed for censoring political opinions, when in truth, such political opinions may just be disinformation or outlandish conspiracies.
In addition, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center states, “64% of Republicans compared to 16% of Democrats were likely to believe that social media was biased towards the opposing political view.”
This data conveys the fact that conservative content, unlike liberal content, is the most censored on many social media platforms and that this mainstream media is heavily biased towards the liberal point of view. However, recent data supports the contrary: that conservative is performing quite well on Facebook. CrowdTangle data depicts that “ The Facebook posts with the highest engagement (the ones people “liked,” clicked on, and shared the most) are mostly from right-wing and conservative sources like Ben Shapiro and Fox News. In addition, a study conducted 400 popular political pages on Facebook and “found that conservative pages performed about equally as well as liberal ones,” contradictory to the recent claims of a few prominent conservative leaders such as President Trump.
Moreover, some sources even state that companies are routinely relaxing their rules for conservative pages over fears about accusations of bias: “Facebook employees deleted misinformation strikes that were issued to some conservative partners for posting misinformation because complaints could go public and fuel allegations that the social network was biased against conservatives.”
On the contrary, “Around 69% of Democrats believed fact checkers deal fairly with all sides, while roughly 70% Republicans claimed that fact checkers tend to favor one side,” according to Pew Research Center.
Overall, there appears to be a growing uproar against censorship of conservative content, and this seems to be facilitated by the fact that most Republicans, unlike Democrats, believe that social media companies support liberal views and that fact checkers mostly favor one side.
Regardless, only a very small percentage on Facebook and Twitter is ever fact-checked or taken down, so even a particular media bias against a certain organization due to that media’s political views should not greatly impact that organization in the long run.