In this August 31, 2021 article for Axios, Sara Fischer reports on the latest developments in Facebook.
According to Fischer, the social network plans to announce that it will “de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback. The change is set to be rolled out first in countries outside the United States.
Editor’s Note: We think that this is another form of censorship especially since Facebook has become a major source of news in many countries worldwide.[efn_note]https://www.statista.com/statistics/718019/social-media-news-source/[/efn_note] How will Facebook classify which news items are “political” and which are not? Obviously, the implementation of this plan will be through an algorithm, but what are the parameters they will be using?
De-emphasizing politically contentious content in News Feeds is genius because no one can confirm whether content has been shadow-banned or not. Hence, no one else can complain against censorship, and in return, people might start thinking that Facebook is a free-speech platform [which we know it isn’t, see Facebook upgrades AI to control COVID-19 misinformation and hate speech].
Who benefits from this development? Already in 2019, Facebook has risen to become a major “news outlet”, even though most people do not trust the network. With this new development, we wonder if people will finally make the decision to move out of social media and return to old news sources.
If Facebook should be more upfront with its intentions so that news publishers and their platform users would know how to deal with this.
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