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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

The latest: “I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Student debt getting in the way of millennial homeownership

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millennial homeownership is on the rise — but student loan debt is still keeping millions of members of America's largest generation from owning a home.

Why it matters: Buying a house remains the No. 1 way to build wealth in the U.S.