Earlier this week a major news story broke about Facebook. It turns out that everyone’s favorite social media outlet has been purposely killing news stories by known conservative sites and personalities while at the same time promoting stories that fit their agenda.
First, it came to light that they were using independent news curators to comb through all of the trending stories and pick the ones that they liked best. That doesn’t seem so bad until you factor in that most of these curators are in their early to mid-twenties and fresh out of liberal arts colleges.
Is it any wonder they are burying popular conservative news?
Even Facebook understands the perceived (and actual) bias of these curators and made sure to not advertise their existence, asking them to not even tell people that they worked for Facebook. Instead, they wanted you to believe that they had a computer algorithm deciding what goes to the top. If conservative news doesn’t make it, well then it must be because it’s not popular.
Complete and utter BS!
This whole story has exposed a glaring hole in the platform that so much of the world uses to get its news. There are millions of people who will never see a story unless it shows up on their Facebook feed.
Before I go into more detail I’ll preface this with how Facebook is a private entity and is within their rights to censor any content.
However, Facebook is only as strong as their active customer list and if people lose faith in the company and move away from their platform then Facebook will have dealt themselves a serious blow. On the other hand, they may experience no backlash and therein lies some of the problems with our current internet age.
The internet was supposed to make knowledge freer. To take away the gatekeepers of the news and allow the public unlimited access to the truth.
Unfortunately, it seems to have gone the other way. Instead, of the utopia of knowledge, we have a digital dystopia of bias and propaganda.
We have become slaves to the new gatekeepers that are Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many others whom we depend upon for our news. Twitter’s perceived bias has cost them dearly in users and trust. Google has helped China cover up Tiananmen Square and other stories that the state didn’t want their citizens to see. Now, Facebook is burying conservative news while forcing other stories to the top focus of their users.
This is a huge problem when we think about the need for freedom of speech and how the companies are no longer beholden to the constitution as private entities.
Again, this is dangerous when we consider how so much of today’s news is copied and shared from social media platforms. This is just as true for modern journalists, who no longer do organic research and instead opt to base their stories on whatever is trending that day.
In Gizmodo’s article on Facebook they interview former curators for Facebook who talked about a poll that circulated asking how they could beat Trump. It makes sense, Donald Trump’s fans are every bit as much on Facebook as Bernie Sander and Hillary Clinton supporters, but I only see their stories and never his. Why is that if not by design?
Here is a video by Milo Yiannopoulos calling out Mark Zuckerburg and challenging him to a debate on the issue.
Another major problem is stories they promote. In a Forbes article, there is talk of how the curators pushed stories to the top of trending like BlackLivesMatter, which they felt weren’t getting the traction they should. So the curators made it trending to be seen by hundreds of millions of people until the movement could properly take off.
They reportedly did the same thing for the Syrian conflict. Every time it died down, they would ramp up support for it.
Finally, Facebook is very self-serving in their censorship. Any story that is critical of them they simply delete from the public’s eye. Is a story positive for Twitter or one of their competitors? Well, that gets snuffed out as well. Too critical of Facebook for too long? You run the risk of losing your whole page.
Gizmodo’s story was big news, covered by most news outlets. Yet you wouldn’t know it by reading the week’s trending news stories.
Again, this is within their legal right, but it is misleading when they masquerade as a neutral source you can trust. They are anything but neutral or trustworthy.
In one of the leaked memos from Facebook’s curators, you can see several news agencies listed on the blacklist, one of them was Steven Crowder’s louderwithcrowder.com.
Crowder wrote on his blog back in February about how he could tell that Facebook had been censoring his posts. This has been an ongoing problem and it is fortunate that it is FINALLY brought to light.
I won’t go into great detail about Steven Crowder’s fight with Facebook, which you can read about here. But he is pursuing legal action against them.
Here is a bonus video of Milo talking to the White House press secretary about the problems with Facebook’s censorship
In the end, this will probably have little ramifications for Facebook and most of their users will probably never know or care that this is even happening. But it does bring to light the importance of questioning what you are told and doing your own research.
Stay vigilant out there!