Facebook may quite possibly be filtering out content from their right-hand side screen news, based on the fact that the majority of users find it “politically disagreeable” or unpopular in regards to their own taste. The shocking allegation was brought to light by BBC earlier today, May 7. The ongoing investigation is said to be being studied by Facebook’s own team of researchers, who are determined to discover whether or not content is being uploaded in an unfair manner that is actually harming the site in the end.
The way in which the alleged filtering is said to be conducted is via algorithms, which end up detecting the information which the majority of users would not like to see, either because it is a topic of which they are not a fan of the subject matter or because the general population does not have an overly expansive knowledge of it and introducing them to it would not yield any significant results.
In terms of “politically disagreeable”, this means that the site would be putting a focus on primarily left-wing topics and key players; those in charge of what gets put on the “trending” section of Facebook’s news feed are presumably well aware that the name Obama carries a lot more positive weight that Romney or Bush, given that the number of right-wing voters are becoming more and more far and few between (at least throughout the online community, as most Republicans and the like are older members of society.) Therefore, they are quick to choose an ideologically favorable topic over one that could create a negative thought in the reader’s mind, making them less likely to even check out why that topic has hit the top trends of the internet. Indeed, many hardcore left-wing voters will not even look at news articles detailing the happenings of the other side, as they feel that the situation is not even worth acknowledging due to how backtracked and unacceptable these voters find right-wing honchos to be.
The study is said to have formed based on the ever-growing belief by both researchers and regularly individuals alike that receiving most, if not all, of the world’s happenings online and via social networking sites such as Facebook, is actually driving people further and further away from the notion that other members of society may in fact not agree with them on the matter. Given that any differing opinions that result from someone stating their belief come in the form of comments at the bottom of any given article or news piece, this is the only manner in which someone is subjected to the reality that not everyone agrees with what they have to say. When an individual does speak up, they are usually subjected to something of a “comments war” via the initial poster and usually several others; this form of debate does in no way prepare people for what it means to legitimately debate their position to an actual human being face-to-face.
Therefore, it has been reasonably alleged by critics that if the possibility of Facebook filtering out news content that they feel people will not agree with is true, this is incredibly harmful to the growth and social ability of those getting their news online. As well as this, it creates the problem that those who receive information through these internet methods are not truly getting in touch with the world’s happenings, as they are receiving content on a bias basis. The study in question is going, but results so far have revealed that the Facebook filtering in question does in fact take place to a point.
By Rebecca Grace