Facebook announced on its blog that it will expand testing efforts to reduce political and news content in its News Feed. Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said that the change will “disproportionately” affect conservatives.
Facebook claimed in a recent blog post that it has “seen positive results” from the testing and that the expanding tests were designed as a so-called response to users “wanting to see less political content in their News Feed.” Bozell, however, is less than optimistic about Facebook’s intentions. “Mark my words: this policy will disproportionately – if not exclusively – impact conservative users and content,” he tweeted. “Facebook has historically used vague terms like ‘political content’ to disguise what they are actually doing: censoring information they deem unfavorable.”
Bozell’s criticisms are not unfounded. Facebook wrote a blog last year that showed which Facebook pages generated the most engagements on posts that included links during the week of Oct. 23 through Oct. 29, 2020.
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The blog post showed that three of the top five pages and six of the top 10 pages included prominent conservatives, news organizations and groups including: Dan Bongino, Fox News, Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, USA Patriots for Donald Trump and Donald Trump for President. The Twitter account Facebook’s Top 10 shows that the weekly trend has similarly continued to the present.
The platform appears aware of the potential problems its tests may cause as Facebook admitted on its blog that the changes “will affect public affairs content more broadly and that publishers may see an impact on their traffic.” In an attempt to remedy the issue, the platform claimed it plans a “gradual and methodical rollout for these tests.”
Facebook began making similar changes to the visibility of political content shortly after the 2020 presidential election. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a January conference call that the platform “stopped recommending civic and political groups in the US ahead of the elections,” according to a transcript of the call released by Facebook. “There are also a lot of groups that we may not want to encourage people to join, even if they don’t violate our policies,” he purportedly explained.
The platform demonstrated how the suppression of just one news story can have massive consequences when Big Tech and Big Media worked together to steal the 2020 election. The Media Research Center conducted a survey of 1,000 voters and found that 4.6% of Biden voters would have changed their vote had they been aware of the evidence linking Biden to corrupt financial dealings with China through his son Hunter.
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