Report: Facebook Suppressed Conservative News Stories

Facebook LogoFacebook workers regularly suppressed conservative-leaning news stories, keeping them out of the popular social network’s “trending” news section.

Gizmodo reports that a former journalist who helped develop the “trending” news project said they routinely kept stories about conservative topics from appearing in that section, even if they were gaining popularity among the site’s users. Additionally, stories from conservative news sources were also quashed unless they were reported by other, more mainstream outlets.

Gizmodo says the former worker thinks the practice had a “chilling effect” on conservative-leaning news stories:

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “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 former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.

There is no evidence that liberal news outlets were also kept out of the trending news section. Stories about Facebook were also kept out of the “trending” section.