Facebook has a mess on its hands and its getting worse.
Former employees of Facebook said recently that they regularly monitored what headlines were considered trending on the world’s largest social media platform and suppressed those considered “conservative”.
Now Facebook is facing increasing pressure and fall out as a result of the alleged suppression, as reported by the New York Times…
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee demanded on Tuesday that Facebook explain how it handles news articles in its “trending” list, responding to a report that staff members had intentionally suppressed articles from conservative sources.
In a letter, the chairman, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, asked Facebook to describe the steps it was taking to investigate the claims and to provide any records about articles that its news curators had excluded or added. Mr. Thune also asked directly whether the curators had “in fact manipulated the content,” something Facebook denied in a statement on Monday.
Furthermore, LouderWithCrowder host Steven Crowder, who is a victim of the suppression, plans to sue Facebook over the whole affair. Many more lawsuits could be coming.
With 1.6 billion users , Facebook has impacted the way we receive our news more than almost any technology of our time.
According to a Pew Study, 63 percent of Facebook’s 1.6 billion users consider the site to be a source for news.
The “trending” section of a user’s Facebook news feed highlights headlines and stories that are popular, breaking news, or becoming major reports. Every user sees the trending section at the top of the news feed, and every time someone makes a post about a trending topic, the post is labelled “trending”.
So if 63 percent of 1.6 billion users, 1,008,000,000 users of Facebook, find it to be a major source of news then shouldn’t Facebook be held to some form of reporting integrity?
One of the major problems is that we don’t know what decides whether or not a story picks up traction on social media.
Well, we didn’t exactly know until now?
For myself, I always assumed it had something to do with the amount of related posts within a time period. This may be a part of it, but human bias is playing a huge role. Facebook does have the right to make whatever kind of influence it desires.
But is it acceptable to take advantage of their popularity to skew the information that voters receive?
These kinds of actions are just as bad, if not worse, than big business paying off politicians. The difference is, Facebook is making an effort to decide the election for us. It doesn’t seem right morally, or fair to the American people who just want to make the best decision for themselves.
Source: New York Times