Social media platformed censored left-wing news publishers and relaxed its fact-checking standards for right-wing pages
Revelations in the Wall Street Journal have confirmed what the SKWAWKBOX reported in 2017 and 2018: that Facebook knowingly biased its news algorithms against left-wing news sites in order to reduce their visibility in its users feeds and the amount of traffic sent to them from the social media platform.
The WSJ reports that Facebook bosses were worried that they would be accused of bias against right-wing sites (hardly a surprise, since right-wingers claim that even the Tory-run BBC News is too left-wing). So, in changes approved by Mark Zuckerberg, the platform updated its processes to hit left-wing sites hardest.
A Facebook spokesperson did not deny that the changes had been designed to affect left-wing sites more, but simply said no individual publisher had been targeted:
Mr. Zuckerberg also has forged ties with right-leaning publishers that drive engagement on the platform, including Ben Shapiro, co-founder of the Daily Wire and a Trump supporter, people familiar with the matter say. The conservative news site has been flagged repeatedly by Facebook’s fact-checkers for sharing falsehoods and distortions…
In late 2017, when Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm to minimize the presence of political news, policy executives were concerned about the outsize impact of the changes on the right, including the Daily Wire, people familiar with the matter said. Engineers redesigned their intended changes so that left-leaning sites like Mother Jones were affected more than previously planned, the people said. Mr. Zuckerberg approved the plans. “We did not make changes with the intent of impacting individual publishers,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Covering the changes, Gizmodo has reported that Facebook’s more recent conduct had also been designed to let right-wing sites report fake news while censoring left-wing publishers’ valid information:
Facebook’s been caught coddling right-leaning outlets and pages several times in the company’s bid to appear unbiased, lest it set off the frothing conservative mob out for its head over baseless claims of anti-conservative censorship.
In August, a Buzzfeed exposé detailed how one Facebook employee was allegedly fired after collecting evidence of the company giving preferential treatment to right-wing pages. Internal company documents leaked to NBC also showed that Facebook relaxed its fact-checking standards for conservative news outlets and personalities, including Breitbart and former Fox News stooges Diamond and Silk, so that they wouldn’t be penalized for spreading misinformation… stymieing coverage from legitimate outlets while simultaneously failing to keep dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation from running amok.(Emphases added)
This lopsided treatment appears to have continued: SKWAWKBOX readers have reported posts they have shared disappearing from their newsfeeds, ‘see first’ settings disappearing in spite of repeated attempts to prioritise the page’s updates and other anomalies when they try to view or share news.
It seems what left-wingers have said for years about Facebook and its unequal treatment of left news publishers has been confirmed.
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