The ideological bias of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook has been a heated debate in the recent past. With Social Media becoming an ideological battleground, it has often been noticed that platforms selectively target right-leaning platforms in an ad-hoc fashion. Not too long ago, Twitter CEO had “fully admitted“, the platforms “left-leaning” bias.
Facebook has too hugely limited the reach of several pages, many of which are right-leaning. The page owners strongly suspect that their reach is being limited because of the inherent left-bias of these platforms.
Today, a famous right-leaning portal, RightLog’s Facebook was unceremoniously unpublished. We spoke to Atul Mishra, the founder of the portal. He asserted that when he logged in today morning, there was a notification that gave a generic message about the page breaking community rules as a reason for the page being unpublished. No concrete reason has been provided thus far.
In fact, Mishra said that just a few days ago, their Instant Articles feature was unceremoniously withdrawn by Facebook too. Instant Article is a feature by Facebook that helps publishers reach a wider audience.
A page as popular as RightLog being unpublished was bound to get responses from people.
Twitter user Ankur Singh attributed this targeting to someone close to Congress being appointed by Twitter. Considering the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, one wouldn’t be surprised if this were true.
After suspending RW accounts, Cong is now targeting RWs on FB
While no action agnst Cong backed Fake News pages like Viral In India pic.twitter.com/RtI0c0wz5M
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) October 27, 2018
Others hoped for support against this bias.
— Vikas Pandey (@MODIfiedVikas) October 27, 2018
The Editor of MyNation.com too expressed shock at the incident and hoped the government would step in to rectify this glaring bias.
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) October 27, 2018
OpIndia.com has too faced the brunt of this ideological bias. We recall our interview with Sadhvi Pragya’s lawyer being taken down by Facebook for “abuse” and subsequently being restored. Sadhvi Pragya, the Hindu saint who had been tortured by Congress regime and implicated to further the ‘Hindu terror’ theory has for long been a ‘no-go zone’ for the “liberals” of the country. An interview with her lawyer was sure to ruffle some feathers, but those feathers being of Facebook itself, was an unexpected surprise.
Many Twitter users who are right leaning have been either suspended or shadow banned, not just in India, but even abroad. Take the example of Tommy Robinson, a UK based activist.
It thus begs an important question: Are right-leaning portals and pages being targeted by the platforms itself, or is there an organised cartel to take such portals down and limit their reach.
It was discussed widely how Leftists have organised themselves in groups and tend to mass report pages until the platform eventually takes the page down. One recalls how Republic TV was downvoted en masse by Kerala Leftists and how, many times, social media handles are suspended because of mass reporting just to even ideological scores.
In an age when freedom of expression and how the essence of this liberty can be preserved is a raging debate all over the world, social media, which was meant democratise freedom of expression, has been repeatedly seen limiting it for ideologies they might not agree with.
These concerns have been raised repeatedly, but clearly, freedom of expression is essential but comes with its terms and conditions for these platforms.
It is time we stand up and be heard. What do you think is the reason for this fiasco? Vote!