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Blame Facebook for Your Politics?

Who is to blame for the one-sided slant to the politics in your Facebook news feed?–PC Pitstop.

Blame Facebook for Your Politics?

by Fox Van Allen for Techlicious

Facebook is no stranger to complaints over how its News Feed algorithm affects political discourse in this country. After all, your News Feed is designed to prioritize content based on what you’ve liked, clicked and shared in the past. That means diehard conservatives don’t see much content from liberal sources, while left-leaning Facebookers don’t see a lot of right-leaning content.

But is this really the fault of Facebook’s algorithm? On Thursday, the social network published a study in the journal Science that suggests its algorithm isn’t to blame for the one-sided partisan nature of your News Feed – you are.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to quantify these effects,” explains Eytan Bakshy, the Facebook data scientist behind the study. “You would think that if there was an echo chamber, you would not be exposed to any conflicting information, but that’s not the case here.”

Specifically, the study shows that the Facebook News Feed algorithm does filter out content from sources you’re not likely to agree with politically, but at a relatively low rate. Approximately 1 in 20 hard news stories from liberal sources were filtered from conservatives’ News Feeds; 1 in 13 hard news stories from conservative sources were filtered from the News Feeds of Facebook users who self-identify as liberal. But even if you are shown content from a source you’re likely to disagree with, the Facebook study reveals that you’re not likely to click to read it anyway. Conservatives read 17% of news articles from liberal sources they see; liberals only click 7% of news articles from conservative sources.

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One thought on “Blame Facebook for Your Politics?

  1. SO I get two take a way’s from this. 1) Facebook is 70% slower in filtering liberal articles away from conservatives than they are in filtering Conservative articles from liberals. That is a very biased approach in it self. 2) Conservatives re far more likely to read both sides of issues than liberals are.

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