Facebook Stymied Traffic to Left-Leaning News Outlets: Report

Illustration for article titled With Zucks Blessing, Facebook Quietly Stymied Traffic to Left-Leaning News Outlets: Report

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

When Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm in 2017 to reduce the visibility of political news, the company’s engineers intentionally designed the system to disproportionately impact left-leaning outlets, effectively choking off their traffic in the process.

According to a Wall Street Journal report this week, Facebook bigwigs at the time were concerned about how these changes would affect right-leaning news outlets and wanted to avoid adding fuel to critics’ argument that the platform has an anti-conservative bias. However, in its attempt to appear unbiased, the company evidently overcorrected (which it has a history of doing). Facebook’s engineers overhauled the update to affect left-leaning sites more than previously planned, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself OK’d the redesign, sources told the Journal. The changes weren’t aimed at any particular outlet, the company later said.

“We did not make changes with the intent of impacting

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