If you thought Facebook was unfair to conservatives during the 2016 and 2018 elections, just wait. It's likely to get worse.
The social media platform recently announced it was partnering with the ACLU and 90 other anonymous organizations to create a "Civil Rights Task Force" to monitor the site and its business practices to make sure "civil rights concerns raised by outside groups are escalated promptly to decision-makers so that they can be considered and acted on quickly."
The statement, on its surface, is not as bad as what is not discussed. Fairness and tolerance and a push to make Facebook a site where speech or political thought by Republicans have equal weight to postings by Democrats were not mentioned.
Many believe that signals a further leftward shift for the platform.
Facebook said the task force would help it remove "hate speech," including humor that can be construed as an attack on a protected group, and ban anyone who is a "self-described or identified follower of a hateful ideology".
If a left-leaning organization is defining "hate speech," what constitutes a protected group and what is "hateful ideology," conservatives need to beware.
Look, for example, at what the extreme left Southern Poverty Law Center defines as hate groups — champions of marriage and the family, pro-life groups and pro-family coalitions, among legitimate purveyors of hate.
Elsewhere, since people or movements who are not sufficiently pro-LGBTQ are considered hateful, it's not out of the realm of possibility that many Christian churches and organizations could find themselves targeted.
In the past, Facebook banned evangelist Franklin Graham for 24 hours for suggesting the country needed "to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands."
More recently, Blaze TV host Graham Allen was banned from Facebook after issuing a call to pray for President Donald Trump.
"I made a video and I basically captioned it saying real Christians pray for everyone," he told CBN News. "And a couple days later I got a notification from Facebook that I had violated their community standards for hate speech. So, they took the video down. They removed it. I got no appeal process. No anything. And I just found it incredibly, incredibly sad that calling for prayer for the president of the United States was considered hate speech."
Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center and a spokesman for the Free Speech Alliance, a coalition committed to combating online bias and censorship, said Facebook's action should be worrisome to all.
"This will let the left dominate the most powerful social media platform on the face of the earth," he said. "That raises significant legal and statutory issues that should worry both left and right.
"Facebook hasn't released the names of these groups, but the crux of their plans is clear — the influence of everything Facebook does from hiring more liberals to control of all content," Bozell added. "That goes so far as to include advertising, partnerships and control of the product itself. Now these left-wing groups have the power over every post a conservative makes. Facebook can't be a free marketplace of ideas with the left controlling everything . The company getting in bed with these liberal organizations — especially in its efforts to prepare for the 2020 elections — should be deeply alarming to the conservative movement, Congress, potentially the FEC, and indeed all Americans. This was a big mistake on Facebook's part. We hope they will rethink the decisions they have made."
One topic the task force is to take special interest in is the 2020 Census. The group will "partner with census protection groups to flag for review by Facebook potentially suppressive census-related content they encounter."
In other words, content that suggests the census should ask whether the individual being counted is a citizen — as was done on many previous census forms — would be suspect. Left-leaning organizations believe the many illegal immigrants living in the U.S. will be hesitant to reveal their non-citizen status on an official federal form.
But illegal immigrant-heavy states need to have as many illegal immigrants counted as possible because the total count of persons in the state — not the number of citizens — determines the number of representatives the state has in Congress and how many electoral votes it has.
California, where Facebook has its headquarters, is a prime state for maximizing its count.
"[W]e're going to treat next year's census like an election — with people, policies and technology in place to protect against census interference," Cheryl Sandberg, the company's chief operating officer, said in a report announcing the task force.
If Facebook treats the census specifically like it did the 2016 and 2018 elections, all Americans but particularly conservatives should be wary.