Two Facebook tools suppress traffic from conservative sites: Report


According to a Wall Street Journal story that looked at internal controversies about how the company tried to moderate its misinformation and news algorithms, the tools used by Facebook suppressed traffic to websites that were considered conservative, even though it was not the company’s intention.

According to The Journal, the social media website studied the impact of the two tools on dozens of publishers and found that websites deemed “too conservative” would benefit most if the tools were removed.

Washington Times traffic would increase by 18%.

It found that Breitbart’s traffic would increase 20%, Western Journal’s 16% and Epoch Times 11%.

According to the Journal’s report, after the 2016 election, Facebook used a tool called “Sparing Sharing” to scour accounts that frequently post in the belief that “hyperposters” or those people are spreading false or provocative information.

Another, known as “Informed Engagement,” reduced the reach of posts that were more likely to be shared even if the person sharing the articles hadn’t read the articles, and boosted the content of mainstream news sites, The Journal reported. A 2019 company analysis found that its influence fell drastically on sites considered conservative.

“We may face significant backlash as we ‘experiment’ with distribution at the expense of conservative publishers,” one of the researchers said in an internal note reviewed by The Journal.

The company discontinued Informed Engagement but continued Protect Sharing.

The discussion about tools is part of the larger Journal. Story It was published on Sunday about the internal debates at the social media giant.

The article focuses on internal chats that suggest employees at Facebook want to remove Breitbart from the NewsTab feature, putting Black Americans in a bad light during the racial protests in 2020.

Administrators have often had to back off against the agitation to remove certain content, as the platform has been caught between the left, which argues that the platform is distributing hate speech, and the right, which says it is censored by Big Tech.

According to Pew Research, more than a third of Americans say they regularly see news from Facebook.

“We’re making changes to reduce problematic or low-quality content to improve people’s experience on the platform, not because of a page’s political perspective,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told The Journal. “When it comes to changes that will affect public pages like publishers, we’ll of course analyze the impact of the proposed change before we make it.”

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