Facebook Manipulates Their Trending Feeds To Suppress Conservative News

Facebook Manipulates Their Trending Feeds To Suppress Conservative News

Barack Obama & Mark Zuckerberg

Gizmodo reports that Facebook was wrestling internally with the idea of trying to manipulate the 2016 United States presidential election. Specifically, an employee survey included the question, “What responsibility does Facebook have to prevent President Trump in 2017?” They’re well within their rights to do whatever they want, but it wasn’t clear if they were.

Well, now it is.

On Monday, Gizmodo reported that, among other things, the curators of Facebook’s trending stories list would routinely expurgate certain conservative-leaning topics and articles from conservative websites. Topics buried when they had actually trended according to Facebook’s algorithms allegedly included:

  • The annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • Former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
  • Former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations Unit Director Lois Lerner (who was accused of giving too much extra scrutiny to conservative non-profit organizations).
  • Kentucky Senator and, former presidential candidate, and not quite board certified opthomologist Rand Paul .
  • Conservative news aggregator The Drudge Report.
  • Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
  • Steven Crowder, formerly of Fox News.
  • Chris Kyle, the “American Sniper” author who was killed in 2013.

Gizmodo was also told that stories from conservative-leaning websites, like Breitbart, were held off on being being picked up when they trended until a sufficiently mainstream outlet picked them up. However, Facebook added stories that weren’t trending to the trending list, but not necessarily due to any kind of political bias: When a huge world news story, like the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 or the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks in Paris, wasn’t trending, they would be “injected” into the trending topics list. The same would happen with stories in the public conversation that weren’t trending, like the Black Lives Matter movement or the Syrian Civil War.

One ex-curator even told Gizmodo that “We would get yelled at if it was all over Twitter and not on Facebook.”


3 replies on “Facebook Manipulates Their Trending Feeds To Suppress Conservative News”

People already feel Facebook is manipulative and unethical; this is just more fuel for the fire.

Hopefully folks get their news from multiple sources. Not just Facebook

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