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Is Facebook's Newsfeed Really Biased Against Conservatives—And, If Not, Should It Be?


#1

Is Facebook's Newsfeed Really Biased Against Conservatives—And, If Not, Should It Be?

Laurie Penny

It was a hectic spring morning at the height of the Ukraine crisis. On the radio, newscasters were calmly reporting on the body count, the possible involvement of other world powers, the possibility of nuclear weapons being used. And then, just as I was wondering where I could fit a bunker in my flat, without missing a beat, BBC Radio 4 cut to a programme about standing desks. Standing desks!


#2

Phasebook is just a trend, leaking through the hourglass of time.


#3

Excellent insights, Ms. Penny.

"The public sphere ought to belong to the public – not to corporations, not to politicians and not to any interest group..."

The same problem exists in the U.S. with the airwaves having been given to 5-6 massive broadcast empires. These, in turn, control content and through it both manufacture consent for egregious policies when not punishing dissent.

About 75% of movie directors & producers are white males.
More than 75% of the U.S. congress is composed of white males.
Most big corporations and CEO boards are headed by white males.
Most U.S. governors are white males

(These statistics are also true in MOST nations.)

Add in this:

"And both the BBC and new media companies such as Facebook employ a remarkably homogeneous line-up. Facebook’s core technology workers are 94 per cent white or Asian and 85 per cent male; a third of BBC executives are Oxbridge-educated. Curiously, this demographic bias is not considered a risk to their “objectivity”.

Control by the same privileged demographic that's run things for centuries leads to the same outcomes:

  1. Piss poor respect (or reverence) for the natural world
  2. Reinforcement of the dominator society based on a status pyramid
  3. Emphasis on aggression, armaments, and making war
  4. Use of scapegoat populations to instill obedience in the masses
  5. Worship allotted to ONLY the male god
  6. Impossible destruction passed off through statistics, numbers, scores and other sterile numbing words
  7. Rewards for the type of heroism that usually involves slaughtering an enemy on the field (football), in the ring (boxing), or in a "theater" of war.
  8. Shaming of males using feminine characterizations or characteristics
  9. Dominant baboon herd behaviors that turn empathy into a weakness

#4

What is happening to formerly radical Ms. Penny since she started writing for the mainstream mag "New Statesman"? (The British equivalent to "The Atlantic" or "Harpers" or the like - currently pro-Blairist/New Labour)

Nobody ever accused Ayn Randite Zuckerberg's "Facebook" of "left wing bias"! They are simply removing "trending" articles from the extreme-paleo-right wing. We have no idea what Facebook does for anything genuinely left wing since the media bias of anything genuinely left wing is totally pervasive that we have given up ever seeing anything left-wing anyway. Even our terminology ("neoliberalism" "anarcho-sindicalism " names of major scholars and historical figures on the left and anarchism, etc.) is missing from both Firefox and Microsoft browser's spell-checkers.

But suffice to say, does anyone actually expect Facebook to put, say, a trending discussion of Marx's "Capital" or Bookchin's "Libertarian Municipalism" the latest ruminations of Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein or the like?


#6

Facebook is different from something like the BBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc because it is addicting. People use it to get highs from likes and compete for status with their friends. Many people are so addicted that supposedly they spend hours a day at the site, which is a platform controlled by one corporation which sets all the rules. Facebook does have the right to show what news it wants to show but in a democracy it has so much power that it does represent a new type of threat. that could easily be used to manipulate elections. People would be wise to not rely on Facebook for get their news but to go to a variety of websites, read newspapers, watch TV, listen to radio, etc to get their news from many sources, not from the newsfeed of one site such as Facebook.


#7

I agree with Ms. Penny's statement. There is no such thing as objective journalism. The idea of such a thing is relatively recent idea associated with the rise of so-called "professional journalism" in the mid-20th century, replacing formerly unapologetically partisan media of earlier times. My city used to have dozens of different daily broadsheet newspapers - one for every ideology and ethnic group - including some very left-wing ones.

The idea of the possibility of "objective journalism" has been pretty much discredited by the obvious bias in the so-called "professional" media (just listen to NPR News for 5 minutes). The bias in this case being for the capitalist status quo - and the governmental policies that support it with criticism from the from the even more extreme wing of capitalism (so-called "libertarians") allowed - but never from the left - i.e. criticism of capitalism itself.


#9

"Like" (heh-heh):laughing:


#11

I am only a bit familiar with IF Stone, and Seldes, I would consider them to be a left-wing journalists. To be sure, the capitalist media is so full of bullshit and lies,and gross omisisons that simply telling the truth itself can seem "left wing" - but nonetheless their bias and even the bias of media watchdog FAIR, shows through - which is fine by me.

What we need is more diversity of perspectives in human economic-political affairs - which unlike physical science, will always be subjective to a large degree - and end this quest for "unbiased journalism" it simply does not exist.