The evidence that Big Tech has its thumb on the scales in favor of liberal and/or legacy media publishers is so overwhelming at this point that no reasonable person should contest it.
The list of major figures banned by Twitter and Facebook is over 90% filled with conservative and/or pro-Trump figures. It is also facially obvious that Facebook’s allegedly independent fact-checkers disproportionately target conservative publishers. Additionally, FEC records clearly demonstrate that the employees of both Twitter and Facebook are overwhelmingly liberal and pro-Democrat.
Still, liberals frequently contest it. If you want a decent roundup of liberals making this insane claim, this Politico article from September contains a few examples. Against the mountain of evidence that conservatives are treated differently and worse by the Big Tech companies, the liberals making this argument frequently point to lists that purportedly show that conservative publishers are getting more traffic from social media sources.
In the first place, as the Daily Wire noted Wednesday, this isn’t even true. It is usually true that the Daily Wire is number one on the engagements list, followed by Fox News; however, if you add all the total engagements for left-leaning sites on the top 25 list, they actually outnumber engagements for right-leaning sites.
However, even if this argument were true, it would entirely miss the point. Even if conservative sites were actually dominating traffic on Facebook, it would not constitute proof that Facebook is actually trying to help conservative sites. Anyone who would make such an argument simply doesn’t understand what it’s like to live life as a conservative.
See, if you are liberal, you have a billion places you can go to find news and information that is presented to you in a manner that reinforces the correctness of your beliefs. For starters, you can consume the news from any of the broadcast networks and all the cable networks, with the occasional exception of Fox News. Alternately, you can read pretty much any newspaper in the country, except for the New York Post and the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal. If that isn’t enough for you, you can just watch pretty much every television show and movie that’s produced and be rewarded with material that reinforces your liberal beliefs. And in 2020, you can get bonus reinforcement from watching any sporting event in the United States and find athletes and teams happily validating your liberal beliefs.
Conservatives have long been forced into a kind of cultural and informational underground when it comes to sharing their beliefs. One of the things liberals have never understood about the success of Rush Limbaugh is that it largely existed because, for a period of many years, Limbaugh was almost the only major figure in the media who was saying things conservatives believed. If you’ve been a conservative for any length of time, you know that virtually the only way conservative ideas get disseminated is through person-to-person contact, because the mass media certainly goes out of its way to avoid helping.
By all accounts, social media traffic to liberal sites should be beating traffic to conservative sites even more than it is, with the patently uneven treatment afforded conservative publishers. The only reason that conservative sites are even close is that conservatives have spent decades waging informational guerilla warfare against virtually all of popular culture. Sharing content that is scoffed at by smug people who purport to be gatekeepers of truth is something that anyone who’s ever voted for a Republican for president is used to doing.
Conservatives do not enjoy an advantage with big tech companies, no matter how many times liberals make this clearly false claim. What irritates liberals is that despite a years-long campaign to stifle conservative publishers on social media, those publishers are still punching at a roughly equal weight to their liberal counterparts.
It isn’t enough to many liberals that liberals control almost all of broadcast media and pop culture; it’s offensive to them that there’s literally any venue where center-right ideas can disseminate. And so they have pressured the Big Tech companies to take every measure in the book to suppress the spread of those ideas, and the Big Tech companies have willingly complied. And still, center-right sites are almost as popular as liberal ones.
The reason for that is simple: Conservatives are used to being forced underground, and no matter how far down they are pushed, they’ll still find ways to share their ideas. This is the world liberals have created, and conservatives have adapted to it.