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Resurgent Gathering: Facebook’s Public Policy VP on Fake News, Censorship & Bias

Ex-FCC Chair Kevin Martin talks his new role at the social media giant, plus conservative concerns about the platform.

Appointed by President Bush in 2001, Kevin Martin served eight years at the FCC (four as Chairman). Having spent the last few years at Facebook on mobile/global access, Martin was made Vice President of Public Policy for the company in April, following a wave of upheaval from the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

The House that Zuckerberg Built isn’t generally considered a bastion of conservative agendas. What’s a Republican like Martin got to say from his position inside the big blue behemoth of “friend”-liness?

To hit the highlights:

-Despite a lot of speculation from conservative media, Martin strongly insisted the corporation has no intention or operations to censor right-leaning speech. However, he admitted that in content disputes over political speech, Facebook has often been ineffective in its attempts to communicate its policies and decisions to the public.

-The type of material Facebook does attempt to actively eliminate includes terrorist propaganda, illegal activity, and encouragement of self-harm.

-While Facebook does, in fact, censor some political posts, Martin asserted they target particularly egregious misinformation–objectively false news content. To this end, Martin shared screenshots of memes that were photoshopped maliciously in service of both liberal and conservative agendas (including a fake pic of Donald Trump posing with his parents dressed in KKK garb). That said, I’d personally be interested to see some stats on how even-handed FB’s “fake news” policing efforts actually are.

-Martin noted for the record there are other conservatives such as himself working at various levels in Facebook to help keep things balanced (again, some numbers might be more enlightening).

-Former Senator Jon Kyl’s examination of Facebook’s political bias, or lack thereof, is very much a welcome initiative in Martin’s view. Simply stated, according to Martin, it’s simply not in Facebook’s interest, per their business model, to over-censor speech on one side over the other. Their bottom line of course depends on broad-based access and value for users of all political identifications.

To follow all the Resurgent Gathering updates, including streaming video, visit us on Twitter and Facebook all weekend.

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