Facebook’s much-publicized demotion of publishers’ content in users’ news feeds has negatively impacted conservative-leaning publishers significantly more than liberal-leaning outlets, an analysis by The Western Journal has revealed.
Liberal publishers have gained about 2 percent more web traffic from Facebook than they were getting prior to the algorithm changes implemented in early February.
On the other hand, conservative publishers have lost an average of nearly 14 percent of their traffic from Facebook.
This algorithm change, intentional or not, has in effect censored conservative viewpoints on the largest social media platform in the world. This change has ramifications that, in the short-term, are causing conservative publishers to downsize or fold up completely, and in the long-term could swing elections in the United States and around the world toward liberal politicians and policies.
Example: New York Post vs. New York Daily News
Case in point: Two rival publishers in New York City, the New York Post and the New York Daily News, are similar in many ways, except for their editorial slants. The Post is well-known as a right-leaning outlet, whereas the Daily News has an established left-leaning slant. For example, the Daily News recently ran a headline after the Parkland shooting that read, “Brave Florida survivors plan day of action for gun sanity and to call out ‘blood on hands’ of NRA puppets.”
Headlines like that garnered the Daily News a 24.18 percent increase in traffic from Facebook, while the right-leaning Post’s traffic dropped 11.44 percent in the same time period.
These results are similar to the “surprisingly profound and partisan” findings of analysis conducted by The Outline. However, whereas The Outline analyzed user engagement on Facebook itself, The Western Journal looked at actual traffic driven to news websites by Facebook, which directly impacts revenue for these sites.
Why did Facebook make this change?
Campbell Brown, a former anchor on NBC and CNN who now leads Facebook’s news partnerships team, told attendees at a recent technology and publishing conference that Facebook would be censoring news publishers based on its own internal biases:
“This is not us stepping back from news. This is us changing our relationship with publishers and emphasizing something that Facebook has never done before: It’s having a point of view, and it’s leaning into quality news. … We are, for the first time in the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to to define what ‘quality news’ looks like and give that a boost.” (Emphasis added.)
Based on The Western Journal’s analysis — and an overwhelming amount of insider reports from new media publishers — it is clear that Facebook’s definition of “quality news” is news with a liberal slant.