Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo:
According to two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s
decision-making, Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging
review of products and policies earlier this year, with the goal
of eliminating any appearance of political bias. One source said
high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update
that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but
disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading
or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the
source, the update was shelved and never released to the public.
It’s unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it
to be scrubbed.
“They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” said the
source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution
from the company. The source added, “there was a lot of fear about
upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics,” and that “a lot of
product decisions got caught up in that.”
Paul Krugman, two years ago:
“The facts have a well-known liberal bias,” declared Rob Corddry
way back in 2004 — and experience keeps vindicating his joke.
Not long ago Ezra Klein cited research showing that both liberals
and conservatives are subject to strong tribal bias — presented
with evidence, they see what they want to see. I then wrote that
this poses a puzzle, because in practice liberals don’t engage in
the kind of mass rejections of evidence that conservatives do. The
inevitable response was a torrent of angry responses and claims
that liberals do too reject facts — but none of the claims
Just to be clear: Yes, you can find examples where some liberals
got off on a hobbyhorse of one kind or another, or where the
liberal conventional wisdom turned out wrong. But you don’t see
the kind of lockstep rejection of evidence that we see over and
over again on the right. Where is the liberal equivalent of the
near-uniform conservative rejection of climate science, or the
refusal to admit that Obamacare is in fact reaching a lot of
previously uninsured Americans?
Facebook can stay above the political fray, or they can filter out false news. They can’t do both.
★ Tuesday, 15 November 2016