How an Obscure Far-Right Website With Three Employees Dominates Facebook in 2022

Judd Legum, writing at Popular Information:

Most people have probably never heard of the website Conservative Brief. It employs just three writers and it does not produce any original reporting. Nearly all of its articles are aggregations of Tweets, YouTube videos, or other media websites, presented with a far-right spin. Recent headlines include “More Damning Evidence Surfaces Against Hillary Clinton in Durham Probe,” and “Trump Gives Love To Mike Lindell, Showers Him With Praise For The Good He Has Done.” Conservative Brief has been cited repeatedly for publishing false claims.

Yet Conservative Brief has emerged in 2022 as a dominant force on Facebook. It has recently become more popular on the platform than the New York Times and the Washington Post.

How did this happen? Popular Information has uncovered evidence strongly suggesting that Conservative Brief is paying a network of large Facebook pages, including several controlled by prominent conservative political personalities, to post its content. This conduct, if it is indeed occurring, is in direct violation of Facebook’s rules.

This sort of thing strikes me as far more pernicious than false conspiracy theories appearing in search results. With search results, you’re looking for something already. With Facebook, this stuff keeps getting served, endlessly, to those with a propensity to engage with it. That people are being paid to promote it, without disclosing that arrangement, is chicanery.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022