Report: Facebook Used ‘Secret Internal Ranking’ Of News Sites To Suppress ‘Right-Wing’ Sources After Election

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Facebook reportedly made an “emergency change” to its algorithm post-election to tamp down on news and posts from some sites and pages, identified by The New York Times as mostly right-leaning sources, from spreading what the platform deemed to be “election misinformation.” The result was the promotion of legacy media content and the suppression of alternative sources to news.

In the aftermath of the election, the social media giant initiated some of its “break glass” plans to curb what it deemed as misinformation circulating on its platform, according to The New York Times. The plans reportedly involved changing how the platform allows articles from certain outlets and posts from certain pages to spread.

Facebook employees found that after the election, news stories from right-leaning outlets and pages on instances of voter fraud, miscounted ballots, and other election irregularities, mistakes, and misconduct were some of the most popular articles on the platform. As the Times frames it, “President Trump was already casting the election as rigged, and stories from right-wing media outlets with false and misleading claims about discarded ballots, miscounted votes and skewed tallies were among the most popular news stories on the platform.”

To combat the spread of such stories, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to change how his social media site promotes and suppresses certain news articles and posts in users’ news feeds. The Times reports: It involved emphasizing the importance of what Facebook calls “news ecosystem quality” scores, or N.E.Q., a secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism.READ MORE

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