New Study Finds No Evidence Of Anti-Conservative Bias In Facebook Moderation (If Anything, It's The Opposite)
from the there-we-go dept
Over the last few months, it’s been weird to watch how any time we point out that there’s no actual evidence of anti-conservative bias in the content moderation practices of social media, some in our comments absolutely lose their shit. One commenter, has been on a rampage in just the last week to declare me an evil liar for refusing to admit the “obvious” fact that there’s anti-conservative bias in moderation. However when I and others ask these people for that evidence, it never seems to show up.
I imagine they are not going to like this story either. A new study from CrowdTangle, a data analytics firm that is owned by Facebook, and has access to Facebook data, seems to suggest that if there’s any bias, it goes the other way:
In fact, according to CrowdTangle, a data-analytics firm owned by Facebook, content from conservative news organizations dominates Facebook and often outperforms content from straightforward news organizations.
Additionally, over the last month on Facebook, Trump has captured 91% of the total interactions on content posted by the US presidential candidates, according to CrowdTangle. Biden has captured only 9%.
And if the moderation efforts are designed to harm conservative media, it doesn’t seem to be working:
Over the last month, the top performing news organization in the US was Fox News, a conservative network which largely echoes the Trump White House’s messaging.
Fox News captured 13% of all interactions among US news organizations with more than 29 million likes, comments, and shares, according to CrowdTangle.
The second top performing page belonged to Breitbart, a right-wing website that is largely supportive of the President and has close ties to the White House. Its Facebook page accounted for 9% of the total US media interactions over the last month with more than 20 million likes, comments, and shares.
And in just looking at “political pages” the data again shows a lean towards more conservative pages:
Ben Shapiro, the prominent conservative news personality, generated more than 25 million interactions over the past month on his page, accounting for 29% of the total share from US political media on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle.
The second top US political media page belonged to Breitbart, with 23% of total interactions.
Other conservative outlets in the top 10 for US political media over the last month: The Western Journal in fifth with 4% of the total interactions; TheBlaze in seventh with 3% of the total interactions; IJR in eight with 2% of total interactions; and the Washington Examiner in ninth with 2% of interactions.
Now, does this mean that Facebook has an “anti-liberal bias”? No. It’s just how these things shake out in the end and how Facebook’s algorithms work. Though, this data suggests, at the very least, one of the key reasons why the Trumpist crowd keeps resorting to the false narrative of bias: it’s working the refs to make sure that they get these kinds of results.