Building a conservative Facebook is easier said than done. Unmoderated platforms are not the solution to liberal bias in content filtering, because those will fail economically, explains Iain Murray:
Recall back in 2006, conservative activists created online encyclopedia Conservapedia in reaction to allegations of liberal bias on Wikipedia. Conservapedia hasn’t exactly caught on. It’s dominated by fringe religious issues to the point Christian conservative thought leaders like Rod Dreher and Damian Thompson scorn it (Thompson said in his book Counterknowledge that Conservapedia was there to “dress up nonsense as science”). What happened?
Gresham’s Law is a maxim of monetary economics that states that bad money drives out good. That is, debased or counterfeit money will circulate more than money with a high commodity value such as gold or silver. Its truth has been demonstrated repeatedly. The same effect seems to apply to speech. […]
Firms that allow Gresham’s Law of Speech to take hold and lose (or never find) their advertisers will always be playing catch-up. Ironically, they will almost certainly have to rely on the technological innovation of the other tech firms.
None of this is to say that a start-up cannot replace Facebook or Twitter — or even Google or Amazon — if it has the right breakthrough. The underlying architecture of the free and open internet allows for endless possibilities for the right challenger. Just ask where AOL, Yahoo, and MySpace are now. Unfortunately, creating the “conservative Facebook” will be easier said than done — and the laws of free market economics are the main reason why. Conservatives have proven adept at building new media forms in the past — talk radio springs to mind. If they are to build a new platform for their views it will require really innovative thinking. A “conservative Facebook” isn’t innovative, just imitative. If they can find a new model that combines quality, revenue, and continuous innovation, they’ll have the winner they want.
[Iain Murray, “If a Conservative Facebook Is Such a Good Idea, Why Hasn’t It Happened?” Competitive Enterprise Institute, September 6]