WASHINGTON - To some it may seem the conservative vs. social media war is just beginning, but it's been brewing for years.
Take conservative media mega house Prager University. Its videos have been viewed 3.4 billion times and counting, nearly four million people follow the group on Facebook, but a recent Facebook notification handicapped the organization.
An independent fact checker had flagged one of Prager's one-minute videos.
The video exposes a widely viewed video of an emaciated polar bear as a deception promoted by climate change activists.
Facebook calls it fake news and to punish Prager it's limiting distribution of its posts in news feeds.
"What Facebook is doing - they're trying to keep their hands clean - and they're using these third party fact checkers to be the truth tellers and determine what is true and what is not, so unfortunately it's very easy to weaponize this and to target organizations like us at Prager U," Craig Strazzeri, Chief Marketing Officer at Prager U, tells CBN News.
This comes just days after Facebook appointed the first 20 members of its new Oversight Board. Only five members are American and that's raising red flags since the board has signaled an intention to adopt global, not American, norms on free speech.
"If you're going to pass judgment on American free speech then have Americans do it. It's still gonna be problematic, it's still gonna be a huge problem because it's gonna be dominated by leftists, but at least in theory they're grounded by the Constitution, not something that came out of Slovakia," said Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, during a recent press briefing.
President Trump is sounding the alarm tweeting, "Republicans feel that social media platforms totally silence conservative voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we ever allow this to happen...clean up your act now!!!!"
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
The president has signed an executive order that removes the liability shield social media companies currently enjoy because they're considered neutral platforms. Trump says they're anything but.
"When they choose to fact check and what they choose to ignore or even promote is nothing more than a political activism group or political activism and it's inappropriate," the president told reporters in the Oval Office after he signed the order.
Overnight, Twitter posted a notice claiming the president violated its rules on "glorifying violence" flagging a tweet about the ongoing violent protests in Minneapolis.
This came after the platform added a fact check warning to two of his tweets about mail-in voting.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently took a different tone than Twitter or even his own newly appointed oversight board telling CNBC, "I don't think that Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth."
The easy solution would be for the president, Prager U, and other conservative groups to get off the platforms that are censoring them, but that would take them out of the cyber marketplace of ideas where they can potentially reach billions.
For instance, research shows 70 percent of people who watch a Prager U video change their minds about that issue.
"We know that when people hear conservative ideas, conservative values that they will be one: open to them, and two: convinced, and we can change their mind," says Strazzeri.
The reality is when you combine social media giants and Google, they are the internet - it's hard to use it without them. That's why Prager U and other groups plan to keep fighting to be heard, viewed, and shared.