Facebook Can Be Biased Against Bad Content AND Still Be Biased Against Conservatives

Yesterday, a post appeared on our front page titled, “New Facebook NewsFeed Biased Against Bad Content, Not Conservatives.” The author is a professional in the field and, as such, should be listened to:

Chris Wilson is CEO of WPA Intelligence, a data science and polling firm, and served as Director of Research, Analytics and Digital Strategy for the Ted Cruz for President campaign.

Let me make this clear up front. Mr. Wilson works with FB professionally. I don’t. And because he worked for Ted Cruz, who I think worked social media wonderfully, I’d encourage you to read his post to understand how FB is working their news feed.

My purpose here is not to abuse Mr. Wilson or insult his work, it is to point out that “bad content” is rather subjective and that Facebook can easily be prejudiced against both bad content AND conservatives, which I believe to be the case.

Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, is hardly a radical organization in any other sense than any truly Christian organization is going to be radical. It is one of the few remaining Catholic universities in the nation that actively cultivates a Catholic identity rather than acting like they are ashamed of it. One of their programs is their Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization.

Over the weekend, the program sent out a Facebook ad

The image, if you don’t recognize it, is the San Damiano Cross which is associated with St. Francis of Assisi.

This is the Facebook response:

Their excellent blog post called He was rejected…, the program pleads guilty to all charges:

It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was “obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.

“but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews, an absurdity to Gentiles. But to those who are called, both Jew and Gentile, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

As Father Mike Schmitz points out in today’s #ShareJesus message, it was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross: he was God, he could have descended from the Cross at any moment. No, it was love that kept him there. Love for you and for me, that we might not be eternally condemned for our sins but might have life eternal with him and his Father in heaven.

This is sensational, this is shocking. This is only possible because of the excessive violence that he endured for us.

“He was despised and rejected of men.” It was ever thus and will ever be, for those who do not see with the eyes of faith, and love with a love unquenchable.

The implications here are clear. Iconography that is nearly a millennium old and associated with orthodox Christianity is not appropriate for Facebook. Nevermind that it is issued by a prominent Catholic university. The very symbol of Christianity is rejected as unsuitable for a medium that caters to all manner of deviant behavior.

While I’m not in a position to judge definitively what is in Facebook’s heart. We can judge their actions. And, as someone famous once said, “By their fruits you will know them.”