Facebook in the US is dominated by the right wing across news and political posts. A media monitoring group has found that the majority of the top posts are from right-wing websites. But it also found that right-wing people are now the most engaged with news and politics on the platform. And worryingly, this has all been the case for several years.
Media Matters is a media research organisation. Since it launched in 2004, it says it has:
put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation – news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda – every day, in real time.
As part of this, Media Matters monitors what’s going on over on Facebook. And its latest report is worrying.
The right wing: dominating Facebook news?
As it tweeted, right-wing sites dominated news and political posts between February 4-6 – having nine of the top ten posts:
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Media Matters (@mmfa) February 7, 2022
On February 7, politically non-aligned posts dominated. But right-wing ones were more prevalent than left-wing ones:
Media Matters also found that year to date, people with right wing views had the highest engagement on Facebook:
— Media Matters (@mmfa) February 7, 2022
So, it appears that the right-wing dominating Facebook news and politics is not new. Media Matters found a similar trend in both 2020 and 2021. But why?
Facebook: knowingly promoting right-wing content?
It reported in October 2021 about Facebook’s algorithm changes over several years. Media Matters noted how Facebook ‘broadly knew’ that the changes helped right-wing sites and posts gain prominence. This in turn would lead to right-wing pages having the highest engagement. As The Canary previously reported:
when Facebook engineers altered the newsfeed algorithm to reduce political news, changes had a larger impact on left-wing sites. The WSJ reported that Mark Zuckerberg personally approved the changes.
The alterations were made after executives raised concerns that right-wing sites would be affected more by plans to reduce political news.
The anti-social network?
Given Facebook is still promoting and prioritising toxic right-wing views across its platform, it’s really time that people started looking at new models of social media. It and Zuckerberg’s other social media platforms dominate many of our lives. Maybe it’s time to start questioning that.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?