Facebook has been in the censorship news again. This time with former employees coming forward to confirm that the social media platform does indeed censor news.
According to one ex-journalist, the site regularly excludes U.S. conservative topics for the trending section on the right hand side of the website – even if they were trending elsewhere on the site.
“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the Facebook “news curator,” who identified himself as politically conservative, told Gizmodo, a tech site.
It is common, according to the former journalist who worked within a Facebook team, to “prevent” right-wing stories involving Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, the CPAC gathering, amongst other topics of similar gatherings from surfacing. Rather, they were told to inject” selected stories, even if not popular, or in some cases, according to Gizmodo, “not trending at all.”
“…I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news…”
Facebook, as Gizmodo pointed out, works more like a “traditional news room, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation,” contrasting starkly to Zuckerman’s recent claim that Facebook doesn’t censor.
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator who wishes to remain anonymous in fear of retribution by their former employer. “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.”
Concerned with the censorship, the curator kept a running log of omissions. “Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”
This “chilling” revelation comes at a time when Facebook has been caught banning articles that are pro-Muslim, and at a time where Russia has threatened to fine and ban the site for its more “extremist” views.