Analysis Breaking comment

Confirmed: Facebook changed its system to filter out left news from user feeds while leaving right untouched

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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29 comments

  1. I don’t doubt this assertion at all, but to give authority to it, we need a copy and paste of the heavily paywalled Wall Street Journal article both you and the other Gizmodo site provide a (useless) link to. Can this be done ?

  2. No surprise whatsoever about Facebooksocialistguild.org(I’m a member for £10 a year but not an affiliate) is an attempt by left wingers to remove our reliance on platforms such as Facebook & Twitter and offer left wingers their own space.

      1. on it Rob, https://www.socialistguild.org/ I’m mindful of appearing spammy in the comments with links, the creater has taken into consideration the nature of the web so the forums are as private as possible, the left needs somewhere to organise and talk to like minded souls w/o having to deal with social media filtering and trolls/Brexit cultists

    1. On the contrary, I am on there a lot to help counteract the right wing rubbish that is posted there.

  3. Lundiel …Totally agree….Speaking of F….Morons….mr trump as encountered much the same from all the media,so its all a matter of are you part of the ruling elite both sides of the stinking swamp.Now the Labour party are catching up to the Conservative party as the democrats are indistinguishable from the Republican party.

  4. Responsible for something like 90% of pederast pornography being on the entire interweb I read somewhere recently.

    I keep telling people this..Right From the moment he shafted his mates out of the ownership, zuckerberg became THE biggest danger to society (closely followed in UK terms by kyle & cowell) Even bigger than trump or conservatism. Protected by states as long as he does their bidding; allowed to do what he likes with user’s data, fake news, paedophilia allowed to flourish….I mean, you only have to look at the horridable bastard to see he’s a complete fucking wrong ‘un. No expression on his face, his eyes permanently glazed over that automaton drone…

    Oh sure, he’s up before the senate every other year…to be mildly scolded in public – and handed even more freedom to spy,shaft or steal in private.

    That site and it’s Goddamned owner is responsible for more of the world’s ills than US foreign policy has been since 1941.

  5. The following are a couple of clips from Jeremy Corbyn’s speech re the Spycops Bill that’s being rushed through at the moment, and the link below should take you straight to it:

    The proceedings on this Bill today are an absolute travesty of parliamentary accountability. That a major Bill such as this, with huge implications for civil rights and human rights in our society and for our standing around the world, should be pushed through in a very short time this afternoon is a travesty…….

    What has come out so far for those of us who have good friends in environmental groups, human rights groups, trade unions and many other campaigns is the sheer arrogance of police undercover operations that have infiltrated wholly legitimate and legal operations in order to disrupt them, spread negative information and cause problems for them……..

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/search/MemberContributions?house=Commons&memberId=185

    This must be one of the most draconian bills EVER! And it’s straight out of the fascists playbook!

    1. PS I just checked out the link, and it doesn’t in fact take you straight to it, but just scroll down the page a bit and there’s a link to it there.

    2. George Orwell would have loved this! I am still finding this difficult to believe that it’s really happening. All our institutions (police, armed forces, news outlets, etc) are being infiltrated by Fascists or their sympathisers. What the hell is wrong with the British working class?

      1. Unfortunately the ‘working class’ are voting Tory. It is almost unbelievable but for the first time ever in a General Election more C2DE voted Tory than voted Labour (by a very substantial margin). You may also wish to ponder on the news that ABC1 voters voted in equal percentages for Tory and Labour. Shamefully it was the ‘working class’ that gave Boris & the Tories their 80 seat majority.

  6. I have had two of your articles that I posted to Facebook slapped with a notice ‘this has been fact checked & it includes false information’ so I have stopped posting anything, I don’t use Facebook that often as I have 3062 friends & hardly ever get any responses so I only post what I feel people should know about ie the infection rate in schools but both got censored.
    I use Twitter more at least you get responses & no censorship.

    1. I wonder if Facebook is fact checking the comments as well as the blog – because there’s certainly a lot of coronavirus denial bullshit in the comments.

  7. Breaking: Proof the gov has told track & trace agents not to trace contacts of school staff or pupils or pass details to local health teams.
    Its hard to read it as its greyed out with the words Partly false information checked by independence fact checkers, the other one I deleted.

  8. With the massive MSM, massive social media and their massive advertisers all being massive capitalists they could prevent any mention of socialism ever slipping through the media firewall – but they know even the dullest of us plebs might smell a rat if they did that – so they bias democracy by just enough to stay in power.
    Any time they sense the masses getting too frisky, or one of their own fuck ups is too big to hide, they can always shorten the leash a bit and bring us back to heel.
    Paying some rat FB geek to tweak some code is also way cheaper than paying thousands of journalists & trolls to write pro-establishment shite.
    It was only a matter of time before they turned social media completely against us.

  9. BBC: “US Sues Google.
    DoJ cracks down: Lawsuit could lead to breakup of iconic company.”

    Leverage to ‘persuade’ Google to do more to help republicans win elections or face more interference and higher taxes.

  10. I recently posted items broadcast on ‘Russia Today’ on Facebook & now they think I’m a Russian spy Thank You Facebook, one less forum to waste my time.

  11. Sorry but not surprised. After all, Zuckerberg showed his hand by becoming friendly with Trump.

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