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Opinion Editorials

Forget Facebook’s alleged bias, worry about their growing tech monopoly

Facebook is being looked at for allegations of censoring content for political reasons, which leads us to question the power they have when the compare themselves to a utility company.

If Facebook is biased, is that a problem?

As I’m writing this, The Commerce Committee, led by Senator John Thune (R) of South Dakota, has asked Facebook to answer questions about their trending news feed. Allegations have been made that Facebook is suppressing conservative news. It’s an issue of bias in journalism. Based on the news feed on my Facebook page, it’s mostly celebrity news and feel-good information. I get my real news from other sites, which all seem to have conservative or liberal biases.

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Maybe Facebook is biased, but is that a problem? Fox is certainly biased towards the conservative platform. They’re going strong.  In my opinion, Huffington Post tends to lean toward liberal viewpoints, and they’re one of the biggest in the industry. Why should be we be concerned with Facebook, more than we should with say CNN or the BBC?

Is Facebook becoming a monopoly?

The real issue people have with Facebook seems to be its domination and control over what information is flowing through its channels as a platform. It owns Oculus, WhatsApp, and Instagram, just to name three of its many acquisitions.

In 2013, Mark Zuckerberg compared Facebook to a utility company, “Maybe electricity was cool when it first came out, but pretty quickly people stopped talking about it because it’s not the new thing, the real question you want to track at that point is are fewer people turning on their lights because it’s less cool?”

If it’s akin to a utility company, can you imagine if your power was cut every time a cable news channel espoused something the utility company didn’t lean toward?

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Who governs what we say online?

Republicans and Democrats shouldn’t be concerned about Facebook controlling the news, but in becoming a monopoly. Just a few days ago, a federal judge blocked a merger between Office Depot and Staples, citing antitrust concerns.

Senator Thune may simply be making noise, but someone should be paying attention to the potential monopoly that Facebook is learning towards and how it affects freedom of expression. When you use Facebook, you’re bound by their terms of service. Facebook determines what you can say, not the First Amendment.

I’m not sure that I want the government to get involved in social media, nor do I want a free-for-all on my Facebook or Twitter feed. There are certain types of self-expression which are inappropriate. I am concerned about only getting my news through the Facebook platform. It is alarming to think that someone behind the scenes could be censoring what I have access to.

#FBmonopoly

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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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