by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One glaring lesson of the last four years is that making assumptions about the Republican electorate is a dangerous game. Yet I’m told in the pages of National Review it’s a “blunt truth” that “most red Americans either don’t know or don’t care about social-media censorship.”
I wouldn’t be so bold as to assume “most,” in fact, do care. But the signs are hard to miss. …
… It’s of course possible to have serious concerns about a service and still use it regularly (a position with which many conservatives are familiar). Concern and apathy can exist alongside one another. Given other factors, it makes little sense to read the “market verdict” in this case as an indication that Republican social media users don’t care about viewpoint discrimination.
A Media Research Center/McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted less than a year ago found that 65 percent of self-described conservatives “believe social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are intentionally censoring conservatives and conservative ideas from their sites” and 66 percent “said they do not trust Facebook to treat all of its users equally regardless of their political beliefs.” But less than 7 percent said they stopped using Facebook “because of its censorship of conservatives.”
A Pew survey conducted last May-June found “Republicans and Republican leaners are around twice as likely as Democrats to say [major technology companies] are less ethical than others (30% vs. 16%).” It also found 44 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners believe those companies should be regulated more than they are currently.