Lingering Questions: Why Zuck’s Hearing Should Scare Catholics

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to answer questions about censorship this week in front of Congress, but his answers shouldn’t assuage Catholic users’ fears.

In fact, his testimony actually raised more questions than it answered.

Unfortunately there have been a number of documented cases of censorship against conservative Catholics on Facebook, including the site blocking or removing more than two dozen Catholic pages and removing an advertisement because it featured an image of Jesus on the cross.

One would expect Zuckerberg to be able to explain why such censorship occurs on his site, and what he would do to prevent it from happening in the future.

But it turns out he was either ignorant of or complicit in the systematic suppression of Catholic speech on his website.

Zuckerberg was first asked about Facebook censoring Franciscan University of Steubenville’s advertisement on Tuesday. He claimed ignorance, saying he wasn’t aware of the situation.

When Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked Zuckerberg about it again on Wednesday, the tech billionaire admitted the site “made a mistake” but added, “I wouldn’t extrapolate from a few examples to assume that the overall system is biased.”

Sen. Ted Cruz grilled Zuckerberg about the conservative Catholic pages being blocked, and Zuckerberg was unable to name any comparative pages on the Left that have received the same treatment.

Zuckerberg has around 20,000 employees who oversee content on the site, so it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t aware of specific incidents of censorship. However, he should be able to outline some kind of plan that will prevent the rogue Leftist Silicon Valley nerds he employs from silencing conservative Catholics.

The only potential solution Zuckerberg offered was to the creation of “more AI tools” that will preemptively block content from Facebook. Of course, those same Leftist Facebook employees will probably be the ones programming the algorithms.

And by Zuckerberg’s own admission, the AI tools will focus on “hate speech,” which is a subjective term often applied to boilerplate conservative statements. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where opposition to same-sex marriage or abortion could be considered hate speech.

So how, exactly, will Facebook ensure conservative Catholics will be able to freely share content? How long will it take for another two dozen pages to be blocked?

At this point, Zuckerberg’s promise that Facebook is a platform for all viewpoints is empty, especially for Catholics.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Amber Athey covers media and breaking news for The Daily Caller and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. Prior to joining TheDC, Amber reported on instances of liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform and was a member of the 2016-17 Koch Associate Program. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Government and Economics from Georgetown University in 2016. While in school, Amber chaired the GU College Republicans and the Club Field Hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @amber_athey.

3 Comments

  1. Lisa G Spear on

    JMJ

    Jesus: “The gates of hell shall not prevail…”
    Jesus: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
    Pope St John Paul II: “Don’t be afraid!”
    Facebook is a tool, and we must trust in the Lord. Yes, be vigilant and vocal when you are censored. But, trust in the Lord – He will make good come from all evil we experience.

  2. Rob Schroeder on

    Given your claim of “systemic repression” of Catholic content on Facebook, citing two dozen pages and one advertisement, what is the ratio of Catholic content that is published versus suppressed? Or, how do you define systemic? 25 examples of the total of all Facebook content doesn’t seem very systemic.

    • I suppose it would have been more “data driven” has the author presented figures RE: content of other religions as a comparison.

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