Is Facebook actively trying to interfere in the 2020 election? It is a legitimate question to ask, given the rather silly decision to remove a video of President Trump’s remarks about COVID-19. Mark Zuckerberg has said a lot of things about protecting free expression on Facebook. We knew this was always false, especially when Facebook banned Paul Joseph Watson in 2019, but now the bias is much more open.
Obviously no one is “immune” to the novel coronavirus. Trump exaggerated and used hyperbole in his remarks. He is who he is. But Trump is 100% right that children are, by far, the least vulnerable segment of the population to COVID19. I put up a post on Facebook with COVID-19 fatality statistics from the CDC. Statistically speaking, anyone under the age of 25 is at a dramatically lower risk of dying from the Communist Virus than older people. Where the risk of death spikes dramatically is people over the age of 65.
So Trump’s overall point – that children and teens are at a much lower risk from COVID-19 than everyone else, is totally factual and backed up by data from the Centers for Disease Control. Facebook and YouTube could have easily added a “fact check” indicating that no age group is immune to COVID-19. Furthermore, an interview with the President on the most-watched cable news network is a newsworthy event, and it is in the public interest for the American people to be able to see what the President is saying.
It is unprecedented for social media giants to censor the President this way. Democrats in Congress have been demanding that social media platforms (especially Facebook) police false information, based on the erroneous assumption that misinformation on Facebook cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. They are demanding that Facebook, Google and Twitter put their thumb on the scale by not just censoring “Russian trolls,” but the President of the United States. This would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
I do not believe that repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is good policy, because of the potential harm to smaller competitors. That will lead to less free speech and strengthen Big Tech’s monopoly over what we are allowed to see and post. But conservatives should know that social media giants are not neutral arbiters of content. We will have to go elsewhere to see the content we want to see… and in this case, the website of the most-watched cable news network is very easy to find.