by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Facebook plans to “dial up” the suppression of certain news outlets, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg made the comment while holding an off-the-record meeting with a select group of media outlets. Zuckerberg briefly went on the record at the end of the meeting to answer questions about Facebook’s recent changes to the newsfeed, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported his comments.
“We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we’re going to dial up the intensity of that over time,” Zuckerberg said. “We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground.”
In January, Zuckerberg announced two key algorithm changes to Facebook’s newsfeed feature that have boosted a minority of news outlets while harming their competitors.
First, Facebook slashed news articles’ share of the newsfeed from five percent to four percent in the coming months. Second, Facebook began boosting certain “trusted” news outlets and suppressing other, ostensibly less trustworthy sources.
Conservative and right-wing publishers “were hit the hardest” by the algorithm change, tech website The Outline concluded in a lengthy report published March 5.