Republicans were rightly horrified that various government agencies, including a number of state attorneys general, were harassing private entities like Exxon-Mobil and CEI over their speech about climate change. They pointed out that even if formal charges were never brought, the intrusive and public investigatory process by powerful government actors had an inherently chilling effect on free speech.
Kudos to Republicans! They are defending the free speech of private actors from government harassment.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee demanded on Tuesday that Facebook explain how it handles news articles in its “trending” list, responding to a report that staff members hadintentionally suppressed articles from conservative sources.
In a letter, the chairman, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, asked Facebook to describe the steps it was taking to investigate the claims and to provide any records about articles that its news curators had excluded or added. Mr. Thune also asked directly whether the curators had “in fact manipulated the content,” something Facebook denied in a statement on Monday.
“If there’s any level of subjectivity associated with it, or if, as reports have suggested that there might have been, an attempt to suppress conservative stories or keep them from trending and get other stories out there, I think it’s important for people to know that,” Mr. Thune told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s just a matter of transparency and honesty, and there shouldn’t be any attempt to mislead the American public.”
Ugh. What does Thune want, a revival of odious equal time rules, but now applied to the Internet? This is just stupid.