Adding to Facebook’s woes after it breached its users’ trust by giving out their private information, a key Brexit leader is now calling the social media giant out for “doctoring” its news to align with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s leftist “personal political views.”
British politician Nigel Farage – a major orchestrator of the British Brexit movement – publicly accused Zuckerberg of manipulating news to conform to his political worldview as European parliament interrogated the social media guru about privacy issues, bias witnessed on the Web and various other topics of concern.
“[The] value of Facebook as a political communications tool is hard to overestimate,” Farage wrote in a commentary, according to Breitbart News. “Without it, Brexit almost certainly would not have happened and Donald Trump would not be U.S. president … [and] I reminded Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg of this.”
Facebook leading users to the left …
Farage shared how Zuckerberg was noticeably upset after his machinations to slant the news were exposed – covert operations ultimately used to manipulate election results in the favor of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“It’s fair to say that this high priest of the liberal elite did not look best pleased at my dwelling on the key role his company has played in helping to create what he would regard as these totally unacceptable democratic outcomes,” the British leader revealed. “[Zuckerberg’s] personal political views – and no doubt those of his close colleagues in Silicon Valley – may help to explain why in January this year, Facebook announced its algorithms were going to change.”
Facebook’s own words were then used against it.
“Farage noted the tech giant said it was going to ‘de-prioritize’ news publishers and their posts in Facebook users’ news feeds,” WND recounted.
The Brexit advocate also stressed how serious of an issue it is that the scandal-plagued social media channel has the ability to influence one-seventh of the world’s population … according to its own spin on the news.
“In other words, it was going to doctor the kind of news to which Facebook’s 1 billion users were exposed,” Farage explained. “And this is exactly what it has done … [and] the impact of this decision has been swift and brutal.”
Facebook actually produced the very information that conservative critics have used as proof that it has successfully managed to shift its users’ news intake away from the right.
“According to analysis of Facebook engagement data using various tech programs – including BuzzSumo, conservative publishers like Breitbart and Fox News (for whom I work as a contributor) – [they] have seen a significant decrease in the numbers visiting their websites and engaging with their messages via Facebook,” Farage pointed out in his piece. “It is estimated that traffic to certain right-of-center sites and commentators driven by Facebook has fallen by 25 percent or more.”
Confronting Facebook’s political schemes
Farage laid the evidence out before Zuckerberg, challenging him to give an account for his company’s aggressive and successful attempt to take millions of eyes and ears away from conservative sites – and ultimately sway the way America does news.
“Now perhaps you’re horrified by this creation of yours and what it’s led to – I don’t know – but what is absolutely true is [that] since January of this year, you changed your modus operandi, you changed your algorithms, and it has led directly to a very substantial drop in views and engagements for those who have got right-of-center political opinions,” Farage expressed to Zuckerberg, according to The Verge. “The facts are very clear – just look at President Trump’s numbers. On a much smaller scale, look at mine – look at thousands of other conservative commentators. On average, we’re down about 25 percent over a course of this year – and you know that’s happening on a platform for all ideas.”
He went on to state his case once more before questioning the Facebook CEO.
“I’m not talking here, Mr. Zuckerberg, about extremism – I’m not talking about encouraging violence,” Farage stressed. “I’m not talking about hatred of anybody. I’m talking about people who have majority mainstream opinions, and I feel they’re being willfully discriminated against.”
As the representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union parliament, Farage began his interrogation of Zuckerberg.
“What’s interesting to me is, who decides what’s acceptable?” Farage asked the face of Facebook. “The people you referred to earlier – the third-party fact-checkers – who are these people [and] why is there no transparency in this process at all?”
He then asked Zuckerberg for his opinion about how Facebook should be held accountable.
“I’m not usually someone who calls for legislation [pause] on the international stage, but I’m starting to wonder if we need a social media bill of rights to protect free speech,” Farage shared with the head of Facebook before popping the question. “Would you accept that today, Facebook is not a platform for all ideas that is operated impartially?”
At one point, Zuckerberg claimed innocence, insisting that his company does not operate in a way that leads its users toward a particular political bias.
“I can commit to you here today that we have never and will not make decisions about what content is allowed or how we do ranking on the basis of a political orientation,” the besieged CEO responded to Farage, according to The Verge. “So, that’s an important philosophical point to me that I’m proud to commit to.”
The evidence says otherwise …
In essence, Facebook’s censorship of conservative Internet news by steering its users clear from right-wing reports and opinions was divulged as being part of its plan to forward its anti-Brexit and anti-Trump agenda.
“You do not need to be Alan Turing to understand what Facebook’s technical tinkering has done,” Breitbart asserted. “Whether or not you like these news sources and their opinions, they are effectively being censored – presumably because of their support for Trump or Brexit.”
The extent to which Facebook masterfully shifted its users’ news intake away from conservative sources was demonstrated through some shocking numbers.
“In the last six months, daily engagement on right-wing pages has dropped significantly, falling by 600,000 – or 4.8 million a week,” Wired magazine informed. “Overall, in the last year, engagement on these pages has fallen by 29 percent – a little more than Farage claimed.”