GOP senator says she's concerned that social media companies biased against conservatives

Key Points
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says she worries social media companies may lean left. She didn't name any names.
  • "That's a source of concern for me as a conservative and as a Republican," said the West Virginia senator.
  • Actions imposed by social media companies against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones are a "slippery slope," says a veteran Washington crisis manager.
FCC Chair Ajit Pai heads to hill for questioning
FCC Chair Ajit Pai heads to hill for questioning

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told CNBC on Thursday that she worries social media companies may lean left.

"That's a source of concern for me as a conservative and as a Republican. Absolutely. You can see that in some of the decisions that have been made previously," Capito said on "Squawk Box" ahead of an FCC oversight hearing.

The West Virginia senator did not elaborate on any of those decisions or name any companies.

"Good common sense judgment here is what we're looking for, and less political judgments. I think that's the beauty of the internet, is you can find any opinion anywhere," she said..

But she declined to address whether conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should be put in that category.

"I'm really unfamiliar with what he does. I know he's very much on the extreme. And I'll have to leave that conversation to another day," said Capito, a member of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations committees.

On Tuesday, Twitter suspended Jones for seven days for violating company policies, a holdout among internet giants from Apple to Facebook to Alphabet's YouTube that removed some or all Jones-related content last week.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told NBC News in an interview that aired Wednesday that temporarily or permanently barring people from the platform has the ability to "impact and change behavior." He said he's not sure whether it will work in Jones' case.

"But this is consistent with how we enforce," Dorsey added.

The actions imposed by social media companies against Jones are a "slippery slope" at a time when the nation remains so divided along conservative and liberal ideological lines, according to a veteran Washington crisis manager.

Without commenting on Jones' views, Eric Dezenhall, co-founder and CEO Dezenhall Resources, told "Squawk Box" that "if you're going to ban or suspend someone with a right-wing view, are you going to suspend somebody with a left-wing view?"

"I do think there is a lot of concern among conservatives that social media has a left-of-center bias in large measure because of where they are based," said Dezenhall, echoing what Capito said.

"I've been in Washington for 35 years — and by way of disclosure I worked in a Republican White House, I worked for [Ronald] Reagan when I was in my 20s — what you see sometimes is when Democrats are aggressive it's community organizing when Republicans do it, it's dirty tricks," he said.

A Google spokesperson told CNBC via email, in part, that the company's "policies apply evenly to all users regardless of politics, religious beliefs, or ideology."

Through a spokesperson, Facebook said, "[It] was built to give people a voice, regardless of their political beliefs. ... We do not suppress content on the basis of political viewpoint or prevent people from seeing what matters to them."

Last week, after removing Jones' podcasts, Apple said, "We believe in representing a wide range of views. ... Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines."