As it turns out, if Facebook and Google say something is “political,” they get the last word.
Last week, the Steamboat Insitute broadcast our fair and balanced debate on the merits of the Electoral College v. the National Popular Vote. As with all our debates, we featured an individual from each side of the argument, with a non-partisan moderator. Each debater had equal time to make his case and respond to one another, as well as taking questions from our audience.
The Steamboat Institute’s debates do not advocate did not push for a particular viewpoint, campaign or candidate. They are meant to be educational, informative and revitalizing to the art of civil dialogue and debate.
We were excited to get our debate video out to a larger audience and began attempting to push it out using social media advertising on YouTube (owned by Google) and Facebook. Our efforts were rejected, thanks to both companies’ bans on so-called “political” ads in the days before Election Day. We revised our ads several times to emphasize that this was a fair and balanced debate – not advocacy for a particular issue. Nevertheless, both Google and Facebook continued to reject our efforts to promote this debate!
Their categorization of our ads as “political” is a flawed analysis, given that we are promoting a fair and balanced debate of the issues, rather than advocating for a particular position. The Steamboat Institute believes that robust debates of critical issues are necessary for civic education, and, in fact, are critical to maintaining a free and democratic republic.
This is censorship, plain and simple. It hinders our efforts to educate the public on important issues and quashes our right to free speech. Though this ban is only until Election Day, it foretells an ominous future, in which tech companies get to decide which kind of speech is free, and which is not. They must be called out.
Watch the debate below and share it to your networks: