by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you type in a query on Google, it not only lists search results but also spits out “Top Stories” if your query pertains to breaking news. Similarly, Facebook is no longer simply a way to connect with your friends, but also a way to keep abreast of trending news. The two companies are now information gatekeepers, arbiters of what is and isn’t newsworthy, authorities on what you should look at first, next, or not at all. … These are for-profit firms providing a service that increases their market share. But in the wake of the horrific massacre in Las Vegas, it’s becoming clear that the two companies are failing to live up to their own self-imposed social responsibility to their customers. …
… It’s tricky business to proclaim oneself the arbiter of what’s acceptable as political news, given that most of politics involves not just discoverable facts but hotly contested values. We live in a nation where ideologues seek to squelch legitimate disagreement by labeling dissenters as beyond the pale. And 21st-century liberalism tends to explain reasonable disagreement as a matter of misinformation. Earnest Silicon Valley folks generally lean to the left, and people on the right worry that any filters that such folks design would impose political litmus tests.