The Democrats are beside themselves that Facebook is standing its ground that it should not regulate political speech. It remains incredible to me that Democrats want a private company like Facebook to protect you from those very politicians. Free speech is under attack from the very pages of the Washington Post, and Facebook alone seems intent to defend it.
Good for them.
It is in notable contrast to the virtue-signaling at Twitter. Its woke CEO decided the company would ban all political ads and issue ads. But it does not matter. Donald Trump has 66 million Twitter followers, and Elizabeth Warren has 5 million. Twitter banning ads hurts Warren, not Trump, who has a unique ability to circulate and have recirculated all sorts of content without paying.
Additionally, Twitter ads are garbage. Let’s be honest. One of the significant concerns of advertisers globally is that the Twitter ad platform sucks. It is not robust and generates a terrible return on its investment, unlike Facebook. Twitter can ban political ads because no one with good sense is using Twitter to advertise anyway. The whole company seems more “WeWoke” than a credible tech giant.
Facebook, on the other hand, is a platform that matters. The left is targeting Facebook out of rank jealousy that conservatives have been able to thrive on the platform. No progressive cared in 2012 when the Obama campaign dominated Facebook. But as soon as Republicans got competitive, suddenly there is a problem.
Facebook does not operate in China. The Chinese demanded too much of Facebook. The communists wanted both censorship and the ability to track its captive citizens across the platform. Facebook decided to avoid doing business in China.
In this country, Facebook should be a leader in robustly protecting political speech. At a time both sides try to cancel the other, Facebook should not be canceling political ads, but defending their existence. In the campaign of 1800, John Adams’s supporters attacked Thomas Jefferson as “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” The Jefferson campaign referred to John Adams as “a hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
This nation has a robust history of nasty political campaigns. A private corporation should not be the hall monitor or the teacher on the playground breaking up the fights. Users on Facebook have appropriate tools to block their precious eyes from seeing content they don’t want to see. Politicians should not demand Facebook protect us all from those very politicians’ campaigns.
Ultimately, however, this is only an issue because President Trump has been able to effectively target voters and turn them out for him. If the shoe were on the other foot, Democrats would be fine. Facebook should not pick a side, which is what Democrats want Facebook to do.
American political speech has always been sharp-edged and often tinged with fable. Nothing has changed except the Democrats’ competitive advantage.