You’re going to miss out on a lot
By Sonny Bunch • Washington Free Beacon
The reverse-chronological social media feed—that relic of, oh, like, five years ago that showed you all the posts by everyone you followed on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram—is dying. Indeed, it’s only a matter of time until it’s dead altogether:
Not everyone trusts large tech companies, of course. Whenever and wherever the chronological feed is replaced with its curated descendant, users worry that information they want to see will be hidden, while the content they don’t (like, say, advertisements) will be promoted. It’s an understandable fear. But, well, that ship has sailed: We’ve already given a lot of our online identities and public conversations over to social networks that we can’t hold directly accountable.
When it’s a question of simply seeing photos in a different order, well, that’s no real biggie. What about when it’s something a bit more substantial, however?
Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
This, of course, is not terribly surprising to conservative readers. This is an avowedly progressive company that employed journalists (only seven percent of whom were Republicans, in all likelihood) to curate the news. Why would conservatives be surprised? After all, it was just a few weeks ago that we learned about Facebook’s employees wondering whether or not they had an ethical obligation to tilt the election away from Donald Trump. Now, as it happens, I also feel a modest imperative to stop a Trump presidency from becoming reality. But then, I’m a simple scribbler: I don’t control the firehose of the world’s news and my Twitter feed‘s not visited by a billion people every 23.54 minutes.
So yes, Facebook is keeping news from conservatives. Of course they are. And you know what? There’s nothing you can do about it, as long as you’re getting your news from Facebook. They’re going to keep on hiding news from you as long as you trust them to be your source of info. If you’re a conservative and you’re not checking the homepage of your favorite news sites (like, oh, I dunno) then you’re probably going to miss out on news of interest to you.
Telling people to boycott Facebook is a nonstarter: it’s so much more than a rss feed. And demanding the government intervene in Facebook’s algorithm as if it’s a public utility is immoral and almost certainly unconstitutional. So I’m not going to do either of those things. All I’ll suggest is that, if you’re interested in reading what the gatekeepers at Facebook think should be kept from you, do yourself a favor and check out some other websites from time to time. It might be illuminating.