Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Note on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and Libertarianism

It appears that some discussion is required with regard to  censorship and libertarianism, in light of the allegations that Facebook has been removing trend advances for conservative topics.

In response to my post, Tucker Carlson Said Glenn Beck Sucked Up to Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook Meeting with Conservatives, the following comment was made:
Carlson made the same comment during the Sunday morning Fox News show "Media Buzz" during a conversation with host Howie Kurtz. However, he also added something interesting which makes me skeptical of the tone with which Tucker describes the exchange between Beck and Zuckerberg. According to Carlson, Beck also admonished conservatives for acting like witch-hunters when it came to the actions by a private citizen and a private company. If one is to take Carlson's word at face value, then Beck was acting more *libertarian* than the conservatives in that meeting. Interestingly enough, Tucker seemed to consider that comment made (allegedly) by Beck as "bizarre." 
Let us assume for the purposes of this discussion that the charges against Facebook are accurate, as we investigate the libertarian position and positions that can be held beyond libertarian principle.

It is true that from a libertarian perspective that private property should always be respected, including the allowing of anyone to censor anything from media properties one owns. Thus, on these grounds a libertarian can not object to Facebook censorship.

However, that is far from the end of the story. If Facebook is indeed removing, from its trend algorithm, libertarian and conservative trending topics, this news of the removal should be blasted far and wide. Not because it violating libertarian principle, but because it is distorting reality.  It is manipulating in favor of an agenda---an evil agenda at that.

From a libertarian perspective,  Zuckerberg is free to do this--unless he is claiming to his users that he is accurately portraying trending topics, in which case in a libertarian society it is possible that he could be charged with fraud. But setting aside the fraud charges for the moment, the big problem is the Facebook distortions, which could give users the false impression that lefty topics are most valued and popular--always. This is pure evil. Again, Zuckerberg is free to act in this manner if he chooses, but what he is doing should be exposed.

Exposing such is not a witch hunt. It is attempting to expose truth, Like Zuckerberg, Beck is the distorter here by claiming it is a witch hunt. A witch hunt is about seeking people out who are alleged to have acted in a certain way and burning them at the stake---that is, bringing government into the process to punish the targets, And although Congress will investigate Facebook (not libertarian), this affair is mostly a private sector warning and exposure to all of alleged Zuckerberg evil doings.

Carlson is correct to view Beck's charge as bizarre. Facebook users need to know if Zuckerberg is manipulating trend results. There is nothing wrong with investigating that possibility----especially since we have an inside source claiming it is going on. Now if Beck has hard facts proving that Facebook isn't manipulating trend rankings, he should come out with those facts, otherwise, he is just a Facebook propagandist.


1 comment:

  1. I watched the repetition of "Media Buzz" just a few minutes ago and I have to correct something: Carlson didn't say Beck comments were bizare. He said they were "ludicrous."