It’s been a running conspiracy theory that major social media services like Twitter and Facebook are operated by politically motivated social dictators; that the information we all see and experience on the major networks are finely curated by the overseers in order to inculcate the audience with a specific worldview. Well, it’s not quite the conspiracy theory anymore, it’s more like just a conspiracy.
The Daily Caller picked up news about Facebook’s censorious antics from an ongoing report from Gizmodo about the way information manipulation is taking place at the social media network headed up by Mark Zuckerberg.
According to the former employee, they allegedly told Gizmodo…
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” […] “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
The individual claims that many of the people working as culture “curators” on Facebook were upper class kids that came from Ivy League schools. The individual claimed that the journalists working as curators supposedly have hard left-leaning tendencies and that they were active in suppressing Conservative views.
However, all of that is hearsay. According to Gizmodo, they inquired if any left-leaning topics and sites were censored the way Breitbart, Fox News or Washington Examiner were claimed to have been censored, but they couldn’t find any connection from other former employees. Gizmodo wrote…
“Other former curators interviewed by Gizmodo denied consciously suppressing conservative news, and we were unable to determine if left-wing news topics or sources were similarly suppressed. The conservative curator described the omissions as a function of his colleagues’ judgements; there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.”
A similar issue also popped up in regards to Twitter as well, with Breitbart reporting that the service has taken to censoring timelines and mentions against the will of users. I can personally attest to certain individuals with strong views on Twitter being completely censored from my mentions with zero user input on my end.
Many individuals using #GamerGate on Twitter noted that certain people and mentions weren’t appearing in their feeds and that some individuals had become “shadowbanned”, a term originally coined on Reddit as a way to censor someone’s discussion without them knowing they’ve been censored. The fallout regarding shadowbanning was covered in some detail over on Tech Crunch.
Nevertheless, while the left versus right news indoctrination is still just a conspiracy theory, the “injection tool” is not. Apparently multiple former employees admitted to using a tool at the behest of Facebook’s managers to put certain trending topics into the feed. The purpose was to force users to view Facebook as a progressive media platform covering hard-hitting news topics. One individual told Gizmodo…
“Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,” […] “They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics. When we injected it, everyone started saying, ‘Yeah, now I’m seeing it as number one’.”
If that’s true, did Facebook then actively play a role in getting Australians riled up in order to go and harass the female Russian developer who made Survival Island 3? The game received massive criticism over the portrayal of aborigines in the game and was pulled from app stores based on misreported information by media outlets; even still, the story trended over the weekend on Facebook since the media put a spin on the information to paint it as being about diversity and racism.
The thought of a company utilizing its platform for targeted harassment creates a flurry of questions regarding the ethics behind Facebook’s staff trying to fulfill the self-appointed role of playing god over social media activism.
Anyway, this revelation also stands in direct contradiction to Facebook’s own policy regarding trends, which states on the help page…
“Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.
“On a computer, the topics are grouped into 5 categories: All News, Politics, Science and Technology, Sports and Entertainment.”
No mention that managers and overseers can change the topics you see trending in your feed.
Interestingly enough, KiA member theone899 pointed out that this kind of trend-manipulation was happening on Facebook more than four months ago after noticing that some topics were trending while the articles themselves were not generating a lot of interest.
Gizmodo reached out to Facebook regarding the claims of trend-bending on the social media service using an “injection tool” as well as censoring other topics, but Facebook didn’t offer any comments.
I have no love for Gawker Media, but if what is stated in the Gizmodo report is true, then a lot of people are being force-fed news in order to take up a certain worldview, even against their own desires.