An extensive study of Facebook traffic data by The Western Journal provides more evidence that Facebook's recent changes to its newsfeed algorithm has impacted conservative sites far more than liberal sites, and that impact is almost entirely, and often dramatically, negative.
Overall, since mid-February, when Facebook implemented its new "trusted sources" algorithm — which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described as an attempt to clamp down on "sensationalism, misinformation and polarization" — the study found that most conservative sites have seen a significant drop in traffic, while most liberal sites have seen little impact.
The study tracked 50 sites (25 conservative, 25 liberal) known to have significant Facebook traffic. The conservative sites saw a 14% decrease in traffic on average. When Fox News, one of the only conservative-leaning sites to see an increase in traffic since the changes, is excluded from the list, the average decline is far more dramatic. Meanwhile, the 25 left-leaning sites included in the study saw a 2% increase in traffic by average.
Below is a chart showing the impact of Facebook's new "trusted sources" algorithm on the 50 sites included in the study, with the sites listed on a spectrum of most liberal to most conservative:
When WJ looked a little closer, the picture got worse for conservative sites (formatting adjusted):
After removing the 15 publishers with the least traffic from Facebook, the trend becomes even more clear. Of the remaining 35 news sources, the 12 most liberal sites averaged a boost of 0.21 percent — in other words, they don’t appear to have been affected in any meaningful way.
The 11 sites in the middle — which ranged from “left-center” to “least biased” on the MBFC News scale — saw a significant increase in Facebook traffic of 12.81 percent.
The 12 most conservative sites lost an average of 27.06 percent of their traffic from Facebook.
For an apples to apples comparison, WJ presented the new algorithm's impact on the left-leaning NY Daily News versus the impact on the right-leaning NY Post: The Daily News enjoyed a 24.18% increase in traffic from Facebook, while The NY Post suffered an 11.44% decline.
The study's findings are similar to The Outlet's analysis of Facebook's engagement data, which concluded that "conservative and right-wing publishers ... were hit the hardest in the weeks following the announcement, with Facebook engagement totals for February dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected."
As The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro explains below, there's something you can do to make sure Facebook doesn't suppress the news you want to see in your newsfeed: