You’d never guess it from the protestations of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but it appears that Facebook actively suppresses conservative media outlets in its newsfeed — and it won’t reveal just which ones it’s targeting.
Facebook announced two changes in its newsfeed algorithm in February, and has been amply noted, conservative news sites took the brunt of the punishment. That was because the company stated it would help “trusted” news outlets and suppress others.
As the tech website The Outline concluded, conservative and right-wing publishers “were hit the hardest” by the algorithm change, “while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected.” That perspective was echoed by Western Journalism last week.
As Peter Hasson of The Daily Caller reports, Facebook does not intend to identify which media outlets it helps and which it hurts, according to a company spokesperson who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The spokesperson argued that if the company revealed that data, it would not give people a clear picture of Facebook, adding, “We’ve made changes to News Feed to help people meaningfully connect with friends and family first. This means public pages of all types are going to experience declines across Facebook. Political pages and partisan news pages, like other public pages, have experienced declines, but there are examples of declines across the political spectrum.”
As Hasson notes, “Multiple former Facebook employees told Gizmodo in 2016 that Facebook intentionally and consistently suppressed conservative content, and would blacklist conservative figures from the site’s ‘trending topics’ section. While suppressing conservative content, the employees said, Facebook boosted liberal topics like Black Lives Matter into the trending topics, even if they weren’t actually trending.”
Recent reports that Republican data firm Cambridge Analytica deceptively gathered Facebook data in its campaign work prompted leftists to pressure Facebook to strictly supervise its platform while Democratic politicians have threatened to impose federal regulations. That, in turn, triggered conservatives to warn that Facebook would bury conservatives so that leftists would eschew targeting the company.
As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro warned:
This latest story on Cambridge Analytica is just part of a larger attempt to convince social media companies that the best way to fly under the radar is to shut down conservative opinions — and the Leftists who run Silicon Valley are more than likely to embrace that solution, even as they claim they’re merely attempting political neutrality. It’s not a coincidence that Facebook’s new algorithms have slammed conservative Facebook traffic.