Rand Paul: Facebook must 'convince conservatives they're not the enemy'

Rand Paul: Facebook must 'convince conservatives they're not the enemy'
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFirst responder calls senators blocking 9/11 victim funding 'a--holes' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Jon Stewart rips into Rand Paul after he blocks 9/11 victim compensation fund: 'An abomination' MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday that Facebook must convince conservatives they are not censoring them if it wants to keep making money.

"I think if it gets so bad that they don't allow conservative viewpoints on Facebook, I think you will get to a point where people will leave in droves," Paul told CNN Thursday.

"So Facebook, if they want to keep making money, are going to have to convince conservatives that they're not the enemy."

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Many on the right have criticized Facebook and other online platforms, accusing them of censoring conservative voices. In July, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee also held a hearing to look into the issue.

Facebook and other companies have denied they are biased against conservatives. But some at the company have also cricized what they see as a "political monoculture."

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a former top executive at the company, Palmer Luckey, said he was ousted for donating to a group that funded attack ads against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' MORE.

In May, Facebook hired outside advisers to help it detect and address racial biases in its ad placements and any targeting of conservative viewpoints.

Paul said Thursday that the issue "presents a conundrum" for conservatives.

"It's a privately owned company," he said. "Most times, conservatives, we don't want to over-regulate private businesses.

"But they do have sort of a monopoly on this sort of social exchange in speech," he added.

Some have floated tighter regulation of Facebook, while others say users will just leave for other platforms. Paul said he thinks "people already are" seeking alternative platforms.

"[W]hat I've been saying for a while is that we need to look at the barriers to entry that government might be creating," Paul told CNN.

"Not the government starting other companies but the government getting out ... to allow competition with Facebook."