On Wednesday, House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise confronted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the platform's new algorithm that has negatively impacted most conservative news sites while sparing most liberal sites.
“I know some of the people that work for Facebook, Campbell Brown said, for example, 'This is changing our relationship with publishers and emphasizing something that Facebook has never done before: it's having a point of view,'" started Scalise.
The congressmen then noted the recent suppression of content from pro-Trump social media personalities known as Diamond and Silk, who were determined to be "unsafe" for Facebook users. Mr. Zuckerberg had no answer for who was responsible for such a determination or if they had been reprimanded, but did offer to "follow up with you on that."
"I do want to ask you about a study that was done dealing with the algorithm that Facebook uses to describe what is fed to people through the news feed," Scalise continued. "And what they found was after this new algorithm was implemented that there was a tremendous bias against conservative news and content and a favorable bias towards liberal content, and if you can look at that, that shows a 16-point disparity, which is concerning."
There has never been a "directive" to put a bias "in anything that we do," contended the CEO.
But research surrounding the new algorithm suggests otherwise. Studies have shown that conservative publishers' content has taken a significant hit overall since the new Facebook algorithm has been in effect, whereas liberal publishers have seen a slight boost by average.
"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," reported The Daily Wire last month. "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."
"You have 20,000 people that work on some of this data analysis. If you can look and see if there is a bias and let us know if there is and what you’re doing about it, because that is disturbing when you see that kind of disparity," Scalise said.
WATCH (relevant comments begin at the 1:30-mark):