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Photo: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images

More than 60 conservative leaders are demanding an end to what they see as "censorship" from "liberal-leaning" Silicon Valley companies, such as Facebook and Google.

Why it matters: The group's joint statement, which Axios obtained in advance, is a sign of surging anti-Silicon Valley rhetoric among the right, and follows up on a congressional hearing last week featuring the pro-Trump YouTube personalities Diamond and Silk.

The bigger picture: In the statement, the leaders — including Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative Media Research Center (MRC), which issued a recent report on this topic — say some tech companies have banned conservative content from their platforms and "skewed search results and adjusted trending topics in ways that have harmed the right."

The evidence: A curator for Facebook's trending topics feature set off a controversy in 2016, after claiming Facebook downplayed conservative news and sources. More recently, Diamond and Silk charged that Facebook choked off their traffic.

Yes, but: Claims of systemic or coordinated bias against conservatives on social media platforms remain largely unproven. Facebook referrals for many political and news sources have dropped across the ideological spectrum thanks to changes in the News Feed algorithm.

Signees include: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman, Media Fairness Caucus; Edwin Meese, attorney general under President Ronald Reagan; Dave Bossie, president of Citizens United; and Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, among others.

What they're saying: Bozell, who recruited the letter's signees, told Axios that there has been a sharp increase in discussion among conservative groups about censorship online, which led to his organization's report.

"Were not throwing grenades willy nilly. We've been looking at this very carefully."
  • The conservatives' statement also recommends social media platforms provide more transparency, clarity on the definition of "hate speech," and equal footing for conservatives.

The other side: The major tech platforms -- including Facebook, Google, and Twitter -- have all publicly stated that they adjust their algorithms and moderate their content without reference to political ideology.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.