“Facebook made sure no one saw the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election,” the House Republican tweeted. “But now that America has record inflation, rising crime, & a border crisis —all as a result of Dem policies— Facebook is shutting down more ‘political content’ to hide the truth from Americans.”
Meta announced recently that it would be implementing changes around the world to decrease “political content” in users’ Facebook feeds. The company made the announcement on July 19, saying that changes to decrease the spread of political content on Facebook through a ranking system would be made around the world.
“Our tests have concluded and demonstrated that placing less emphasis on likes and shares for political content is an effective way to reduce the amount of political content people experience in their Feed. We have now implemented these changes globally,” the company announced.
The company originally announced these changes in February 2021, saying that it was hoping to decrease political content in news feeds. These changes included moves to “rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals.”
Content from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other health agencies were “exempt” from the tests, with the company citing their “authoritative” status.
The company’s political ranking tests were later expanded to “Facebook Watch” in December 2021, and they announced in May this year that they would be weighing comments and shares on political posts less in a continued effort to decrease the reach of political posts.
McCarthy’s criticism stems from Facebook’s limiting of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story prior to the 2020 election.
In October 2020, the company began limiting the reach of a Post story that alleged that Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a Ukrainian energy executive a year before the vice president pushed Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor who was then probing the executive’s company.
“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted shortly after the story broke. “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”
Since that time, outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post have confirmed aspects of the laptop story, which some had initially dismissed as Russian propaganda.
Tim Pearce contributed to this report.