Why Does Facebook's Rules Page Link to Liberal Advocacy Groups?
With 2.23 billion active users, Facebook is an advertiser's dream. On Tuesday, Facebook sent advertisers an alert, urging them to review the social media giant's "Non-Discrimination Policy." That rules policy links to liberal activist groups, placing them in a list of sources to help explain what kind of discrimination is legally prohibited.
On Tuesday, Facebook advertisers received a notice urging them to "Please Review Our Non-Discrimination Policy."
If advertisers click the "Review Policy" button, they will see a large page entitled, "To help maintain the integrity of Facebook advertising, please review and accept our non-discrimination policy."
"Facebook's Advertising Policies prohibit advertisers from using our ads products to discriminate against individuals or groups of people," the rules page explains. "Ads are discriminatory when they deny opportunities to individuals or groups of people based on certain personal attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, family/marital status, disability or medical or genetic condition."
The page prompts users to certify that they "reviewed and will abide by our Advertising Policies and all applicable laws." Before accepting, it would be wise for users to click on the button to "Learn more about our Non-Discrimination Policy."
If an advertiser clicks on that button, he or she will see the original policy (available here) which lists various resources to learn more about illegal discrimination.
According to the policy, "advertisers may not (1) use our audience selection tools to (a) wrongfully target specific groups of people for advertising (see Advertising Policy 7.1 on Targeting), or (b) wrongfully exclude specific groups of people from seeing their ads; or (2) include discriminatory content in their ads. Advertisers are also required to comply with applicable laws that prohibit discrimination (see Advertising Policy 4.2 on Illegal Products or Services)."
The page concludes with a list of organizations revealing the kinds of applicable laws "that prohibit discriminating against groups of people in connection with, for example, offers of housing, employment, and credit." Below this list, Facebook includes a disclaimer that "this guide is not a substitute for legal advice."
The list includes U.S. government agencies tasked with preventing discrimination, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Two groups do not fit with the others however. Along with HUD and EEOC, Facebook lists the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Leadership Conferences on Civil and Human Rights, both liberal advocacy organizations. It also links to the National Fair Housing Alliance's "Fair Housing Resource Center," a page including PSAs from HUD.
Facebook's rules page links to the home pages for ACLU and the Leadership Conference (rather than specific reference pages), suggesting a general endorsement for these activist organizations. Both websites urge people to action for liberal causes.
The ACLU's homepage urges visitors to "Give Monthly" near the top of the page, featuring the text, "The Fight Is Still On," with a picture of Donald Trump.
The ACLU, which has a long history of protecting free speech, actually opposed free speech in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), arguing that baker Jack Phillips did not have the free speech right to opt out of baking an expressive cake for a same-sex wedding.
Worse, the ACLU spent more than $1 million opposing the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. This Leftist group has suffered from Trump Derangement Syndrome so much, it complained when President Trump used the word "America" more than 80 times in his first "State of the Union" address. Yes, an organization whose first initial stands for "American" grew to hate the word "America" because Trump said it.
But Facebook didn't just effectively endorse the ACLU. Its rules page also directed advertisers to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition consisting of unions, LGBT activist groups, environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, and the Left-wing smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Vanita Gupta, the Leadership Conference's president and CEO, is a veteran of the Obama administration, having served as acting head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Under her leadership, the DOJ sued North Carolina over House Bill 2, alleging that a bill reserving multiple-stall restrooms to members of the same sex discriminated against transgender people. This move redefined the very meaning of "sex" to refer to gender identity, rather than biological sex.
In keeping with the Obama administration and the liberal bent of its partners, Gupta twisted the facts to oppose Kavanaugh, accusing him of lying under oath and declaring, "our civil and human rights depend on this vote." The group even defended civil rights by ... declaring its solidarity with the NFL kneelers.
Facebook can explain its non-discrimination policy however it likes, but citing these liberal organizations as if they were on par with federal agencies sends a chilling message to conservatives across America.
Facebook has already censored conservative articles, blocked conservative Christian scholar Robert Gagnon, and targeted Prager University, among so many others. Conservatives (and some liberals) inside Facebook are pushing back against the "political monoculture" at the social media giant.
If Facebook wants to reassure conservatives that they are not second-class citizens on the social media platform, it should stop referring to the ACLU and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights as if they were on the same level as the U.S. government. It should also separate itself from the SPLC.
By referring to these liberal groups as mere civil rights organizations, referring to them in its rules policies, and urging advertisers to treat them like the gold standard, Facebook has alienated millions of Americans, and it's time for them to speak up.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.