|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2019
WASHINGTON (NRB) – According to a recent survey by technology research group Loup Ventures, 51% of Americans believe that more should be done to protect free speech on internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), which launched its John Milton Project for Free Speech eight years ago to address that very issue, agrees. But the head of NRB’s project also believes the real question is how those free expression protections can be achieved, especially as censorship is expanding.
On May 23, the popular fitness and health program CrossFit called out Facebook for deleting its 1.65 million-member Banting7DayMealPlan user group without warning or explanation. In a public statement, CrossFit accused Facebook of “acting in the service of food and beverage industry interests” by purging opposing views on nutrition and health.
“The digital market place is dominated by Facebook,” says Craig Parshall, NRB’s general counsel and the director of the John Milton Project for Free Speech. “Facebook is a near-monopoly with 2.4 billion monthly active users after its merger with Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger services, compared to Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users. Previously, Facebook’s pattern of viewpoint discrimination was mostly mounted against conservative and Christian opinions. But now it seems any idea that isn’t to Facebook’s liking will be censored.”
To reverse this trend, the John Milton Project for Free Speech is currently planning a strategy geared for Washington leaders that will combine respect for the free enterprise rights of Silicon Valley technology companies while also ensuring that free speech is protected for lawful opinions and content even if they are considered “politically incorrect.”
“Monopolies become suspect when they use their market dominance to destroy competition,” says Parshall. “While healthy economic competition is important, keeping the market place of ideas on a level playing field is even more important.”
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. This year, NRB marks its 75th anniversary as an association. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
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