'A Massive Story': Facebook Accused of Blocking Conservative News
Have Facebook employees prevented people from seeing certain news stories?
A new report from Gizmodo cites former Facebook workers who allege that conservative news stories were "routinely suppressed" from the highly-visible "Trending" section.
This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
Facebook has since responded, saying they take the allegations of bias "very seriously."
Tom Stocky, who oversees the Trending Topics section, pushed back on the allegations in the piece, writing that Facebook "does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we've designed our tools to make that technically not feasible."
Fox News contributor and Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson reacted this morning, calling it a "massive story" because more Americans now get their news via Facebook than from any other source.
"If you control what news people are getting, you control the attitudes they develop about the news. It's hugely significant," he said.
Carlson said he can't prove bias by Facebook, but that Daily Caller's entertainment stories get "disproportionately" more attention on Facebook than its political reports.
He added that Facebook may have "guidelines" on news neutrality, but that something entirely different could be happening in practice.
Meantime, the RNC responded by starting a hashtag #MakeThisTrend, calling the allegations "beyond disturbing."
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 9, 2016
Watch Tucker's thoughts above and Adam Housley's report below.