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Community => News => Topic started by: I-10east on May 12, 2016, 09:27:08 AM

Title: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: I-10east on May 12, 2016, 09:27:08 AM
Ex-Facebook workers say your 'trending' section is biased against conservative viewpoints. Also allegedly left-leaning stories (like BLM) was force fed into the trending news section; Basically a moderator 'bump' for liberal talk, while suppressing conservative views. I can't say that I'm surprised.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro8QswUFyxM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0lz6ffWC-w
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Murder_me_Rachel on May 12, 2016, 09:54:24 AM
If you are getting your "news" from Facebook trending stories, then...that's unfortunate.  And, regardless, does that somehow devalue the actual legitimate gripes of the BLM folks*?  Don't think so.  This is a non-story of massive proportions.

*Sure, some of their antics mildly annoy me, but to say they don't have legitimate issues is ridiculous. 
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 12, 2016, 09:59:54 AM
If you are getting your "news" from Facebook trending stories, then...that's unfortunate. 

For real.  Who even pays attention to the 'trending stories'?
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: I-10east on May 12, 2016, 10:01:51 AM
You always have something to say that's very 'meaningful' MMR. You never fail to disappoint; keep up the good work...
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: I-10east on May 12, 2016, 10:06:19 AM
For real.  Who even pays attention to the 'trending stories'?

What about the political suppression (which goes hand and hand with the trending section)? FB's 'vetting' process is only teetering on the edge of propaganda, no biggie... 
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: coredumped on May 12, 2016, 10:14:32 AM
What about the political suppression (which goes hand and hand with the trending section)? FB's 'vetting' process is only teetering on the edge of propaganda, no biggie... 

You're correct I-10, it's crappy they're pushing their agenda. But I don't see it as any worse than the garbage Fox "news" or msnbc "news" channels put out.

Facebook is under no obligation to have journalistic integrity, if there's even such a thing anymore.

But sadly, the masses get their news from facebook.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: coredumped on May 12, 2016, 11:10:52 AM
its also a lie, btw.

Source? The Senate is launching and investigation in to it so I'm not sure how you would know more than them.

Again, I want to state that this whole thing is a waste of time and taxes, they are free to publish whatever they want and censor whatever they want. But it should be known what they're doing.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 12, 2016, 11:14:41 AM
The Senate is launching and investigation in to it so I'm not sure how you would know more than them.

LOL, all that says is that John Thune thinks he can score some airtime on FOX.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: coredumped on May 12, 2016, 11:31:54 AM
The Senate is launching and investigation in to it so I'm not sure how you would know more than them.

LOL, all that says is that John Thune thinks he can score some airtime on FOX.

True but meh, no different than the left wingers that come out of the wood work to talk about "gun control."
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: dp8541 on May 12, 2016, 11:55:08 AM
The claim was originally published by Gizmodo which is an off shoot of the fairly left leaning Gawker.  I would say that gives  more credibility to this issue than just dismissing this as pissed off conservative bloggers hired by FB.  From what I have seen a lot of the possibly "suppressed" stories were related to the 2012 presidential election, which if true could have played a role in that election


http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 12, 2016, 12:07:30 PM
The claim was originally published by Gizmodo which is an off shoot of the fairly left leaning Gawker.  I would say that gives  more credibility to this issue than just dismissing this as pissed off conservative bloggers hired by FB.  From what I have seen a lot of the possibly "suppressed" stories were related to the 2012 presidential election, which if true could have played a role in that election


http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006

So ONE person makes this claim and the right immediately slips into their favorite stance, that of the "victim".
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: carpnter on May 12, 2016, 12:45:58 PM
I have seen Facebook quite often put up Satire sites (similar to The Onion) as "related articles" to a serious news article, so something isn't quite right with what they use to determine what to show.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: JBTripper on May 12, 2016, 01:59:07 PM
If you are getting your "news" from Facebook trending stories, then...that's unfortunate. 

For real.  Who even pays attention to the 'trending stories'?

We can debate the good sense of a person who gets their news from Facebook, but the answer to your question is "a whole lot of people." Facebook boasts about 1.6 billion monthly active users and the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that about 30% of Facebook users get their news from the site. I imagine if this board had 1.6 billion users, and 480 million of them used it for the expressed purpose of consuming news, we would consider it to be fairly influential.

What about the political suppression (which goes hand and hand with the trending section)? FB's 'vetting' process is only teetering on the edge of propaganda, no biggie... 

You're correct I-10, it's crappy they're pushing their agenda. But I don't see it as any worse than the garbage Fox "news" or msnbc "news" channels put out.

Facebook is under no obligation to have journalistic integrity, if there's even such a thing anymore.

But sadly, the masses get their news from facebook.

It's different from Fox and MSNBC because people who consume news understand that humans are making editorial decisions about what to report, how and when. There is an inherent bias, and people have come to accept that. Facebook, however, is not a human being. It's supposed to be an algorithm. What makes Facebook different is that it purports to deliver news that is the most popular - clicked, viewed, read, 'hovered' over, whatever - to its users in the trending section.

In essence, Facebook is claiming to be reporting on how people think. By suppressing the fact that an article on Brietbart, for instance, is the most clicked news article on a network of 1.6 billion people and inserting the myth that a story about, say, Black Lives Matter is the most popular story, Facebook isn't reporting on how people think. They are shaping how people think.

You, the user, are meant to believe that most of the world does not read Brietbart, RedState, and the like. That's just the right-wing "crazies." You are meant to believe that Black Lives Matter is a sweeping, nationwide movement that has come about because police everywhere are gunning down black people for sport.

In reality, however, a lot of regular and decent people do read Brietbart, RedState, and the like. In reality, Black Lives Matter is a response to a problem that, while very real and horrible, is not so widespread as to become a topic of daily conversation on Facebook for most users.

This would all be fine if Facebook was up front about it. It's not fine, though, because Facebook doesn't have an "editorial" section. It doesn't have a "stories picked out for you" section. It has a "trending" section, and they even use little upward-climbing graph arrow icons that seem to say "these things are being placed here based on data gleaned from our users." Which we now know is a lie.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 12, 2016, 02:33:00 PM
If you are getting your "news" from Facebook trending stories, then...that's unfortunate. 

For real.  Who even pays attention to the 'trending stories'?

We can debate the good sense of a person who gets their news from Facebook, but the answer to your question is "a whole lot of people." Facebook boasts about 1.6 billion monthly active users and the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that about 30% of Facebook users get their news from the site. I imagine if this board had 1.6 billion users, and 480 million of them used it for the expressed purpose of consuming news, we would consider it to be fairly influential.

What about the political suppression (which goes hand and hand with the trending section)? FB's 'vetting' process is only teetering on the edge of propaganda, no biggie... 

You're correct I-10, it's crappy they're pushing their agenda. But I don't see it as any worse than the garbage Fox "news" or msnbc "news" channels put out.

Facebook is under no obligation to have journalistic integrity, if there's even such a thing anymore.

But sadly, the masses get their news from facebook.

It's different from Fox and MSNBC because people who consume news understand that humans are making editorial decisions about what to report, how and when. There is an inherent bias, and people have come to accept that. Facebook, however, is not a human being. It's supposed to be an algorithm. What makes Facebook different is that it purports to deliver news that is the most popular - clicked, viewed, read, 'hovered' over, whatever - to its users in the trending section.

In essence, Facebook is claiming to be reporting on how people think. By suppressing the fact that an article on Brietbart, for instance, is the most clicked news article on a network of 1.6 billion people and inserting the myth that a story about, say, Black Lives Matter is the most popular story, Facebook isn't reporting on how people think. They are shaping how people think.

You, the user, are meant to believe that most of the world does not read Brietbart, RedState, and the like. That's just the right-wing "crazies." You are meant to believe that Black Lives Matter is a sweeping, nationwide movement that has come about because police everywhere are gunning down black people for sport.

In reality, however, a lot of regular and decent people do read Brietbart, RedState, and the like. In reality, Black Lives Matter is a response to a problem that, while very real and horrible, is not so widespread as to become a topic of daily conversation on Facebook for most users.

This would all be fine if Facebook was up front about it. It's not fine, though, because Facebook doesn't have an "editorial" section. It doesn't have a "stories picked out for you" section. It has a "trending" section, and they even use little upward-climbing graph arrow icons that seem to say "these things are being placed here based on data gleaned from our users." Which we now know is a lie.


Assuming this is true, I totally agree on all points. (Except the bit about decent people reading Breitbart, etc). And I have to admit I've got my news from Facebook in the past  :'(

Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: UNFurbanist on May 12, 2016, 04:06:58 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 12, 2016, 04:26:08 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.

I'm not saying you're wrong, these are honest questions:

1) Do you know that for a fact about the algorithm Facebook uses or are you assuming it?

2) Do you have statistics that show that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than conservative? In my experience (totally not based on anything other than that), I see lots of conservatives - though my friends tend to be more liberal. Facebook seems kind of universal/ubiquitous at this point, so I would assume its users would mimic the general population.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: simms3 on May 12, 2016, 05:00:55 PM
This is so stupid...I will see at least 3 friends who work at Facebook and another that works at Instagram tonight and I won't even start to ask them if this is true because it's so obviously not.  Just another example of a literally stupid Fox News viewer who happens to be in the Millennial demographic group (sadly, I do shed a tear for this) trying desperately to appeal to the stupidity of other Fox News viewers who eat this load of literal cocka up as if it were in the Bible.

On another note, it *SHOULD* be true.  If you are trying to find "conservative bias" that suits the answers you yourself want in trending science, entertainment, and political articles/events/findings, then you deserve to have "real/authentic" information disguised in your silly little mind as "liberal" exclusively thrown your way so that you can begin to grow a fucking brain and gain actual information.

OMG
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: CoastalJax on May 12, 2016, 05:34:41 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.

I'm not saying you're wrong, these are honest questions:

1) Do you know that for a fact about the algorithm Facebook uses or are you assuming it?

2) Do you have statistics that show that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than conservative? In my experience (totally not based on anything other than that), I see lots of conservatives - though my friends tend to be more liberal. Facebook seems kind of universal/ubiquitous at this point, so I would assume its users would mimic the general population.

To an extent, #2 can be inferred (although granted that certainly doesn't mean it's proven) due to the fact that the majority of people who use Facebook are of millennial age, and the majority of millennials lean more toward liberal ideologies.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: TheCat on May 12, 2016, 05:39:43 PM
You always have something to say that's very 'meaningful' MMR. You never fail to disappoint; keep up the good work...


Well, looks like the spork is calling the spoon a kettle.

Do you want to place a bet that Murdoch is about to rebrand myspace as the social media site for crazies who think they are conservative?  ::)
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: JeffreyS on May 12, 2016, 05:46:03 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.

I'm not saying you're wrong, these are honest questions:

1) Do you know that for a fact about the algorithm Facebook uses or are you assuming it?

2) Do you have statistics that show that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than conservative? In my experience (totally not based on anything other than that), I see lots of conservatives - though my friends tend to be more liberal. Facebook seems kind of universal/ubiquitous at this point, so I would assume its users would mimic the general population.

To an extent, #2 can be inferred (although granted that certainly doesn't mean it's proven) due to the fact that the majority of people who use Facebook are of millennial age, and the majority of millennials lean more toward liberal ideologies.

The average age of FB user in the US is 40 http://smallbusiness.chron.com/breakdown-facebook-users-age-63280.html
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: simms3 on May 12, 2016, 06:06:44 PM
Which is a whole generation less than all the major television news outlets, all of which have average viewer ages in the 60s.  40 is still surprising.  That's probably average age of user, which everyone is a basic user these days, including grandparents.  But daily and moderate to heavy users likely skews A LOT younger, probably somewhere between 23 and 32 if I had to guess.

This is the age group that actually uses an outlet like Facebook as a news source.  People 40+ and especially 50 or 60+ are definitely using Facebook more sparingly, mainly to post occasionally on a child or friend's wall, etc, and are still going to MSNBC,CNN, and Fox News for their news.  Translation, "clicks" are still driven by the younger set even if FB average age is 40.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: simms3 on May 12, 2016, 06:11:22 PM
In fact if you read the article, data is from 2011 (irrelevant at this point) and Ad Age starts to see a dip at age 30.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: UNFurbanist on May 12, 2016, 06:57:45 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.

I'm not saying you're wrong, these are honest questions:

1) Do you know that for a fact about the algorithm Facebook uses or are you assuming it?

2) Do you have statistics that show that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than conservative? In my experience (totally not based on anything other than that), I see lots of conservatives - though my friends tend to be more liberal. Facebook seems kind of universal/ubiquitous at this point, so I would assume its users would mimic the general population.

Admittedly the 2nd point was inferred. Although, the article posted by JefferyS seems to point to a similar conclusion. I never meant to say that it was only 20 and 30 somethings using it just that it is younger than traditional media which Simms summed up pretty nicely.

To the first point, I don't have the source off hand but I took a media class at UNF a year back and we talked about fb click logic and that was basically the main assertion. There was an associated study along with it (since I don't think fb would openly put all their code secrets out there) but that is where I was basing that statement off of. But hey, who knows? Since I go to a University I must also have my brain being filled with the "liberal agenda" there too right?! lol  ::)
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: brainstormer on May 12, 2016, 08:19:17 PM
This is such a non-issue. Facebook is a private company and can do whatever it wants with regards to its algorithms or lack of algorithms. How is my choosing to read news on Facebook any different than my choosing to turn on my TV and select Fox News or CNN? The idea that Congress should get involved is so stupid. Perhaps Congress should STFU and just do their jobs. Solve real problems instead of making up problems that don't exist.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: spuwho on May 12, 2016, 08:24:34 PM
There will never be one sole source of information that is absolutely accurate every time they report something.

As we learned in college history, you review all of the reports at hand, anything that is common between all of them has a higher chance of being accurate.

Even today we stumble across new information that offsets a report that was thought to be credible at its time.

Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 12, 2016, 08:58:39 PM
JBTripper posts the core issue here of why this is diabolical:

"This would all be fine if Facebook was up front about it. It's not fine, though, because Facebook doesn't have an "editorial" section. It doesn't have a "stories picked out for you" section. It has a "trending" section, and they even use little upward-climbing graph arrow icons that seem to say "these things are being placed here based on data gleaned from our users." Which we now know is a lie."

And on queau, the usual suspects appear, instead of actually addressing the core issue - the falsification of what is actually "trending", go to their usual bag of dissembling, straw-manning, obfuscating, scapegoating...

Fox News! Breitbart! Only idiots get news! So what!!!! [my favorite argument to see... lol] Nothing here!  Move along!

Every.Single.Time.

It's highly amusing.

Trending

verb (used without object)
4.to have a general tendency, as events, conditions, etc.
5.to tend to take a particular direction; extend in some direction indicated.
6.to emerge as a popular trend; be currently popular: trending topics on the Internet; words that have trended this year.
7.to veer or turn off in a specified direction, as a river, mountain range, etc.

What about the word trending suggests to anyone that something less than the MOST POPULAR actual stories be presented?

And what does it say if this is NOT the case?

It's hard for me to say whether you are malicious in your activities or actually are just the useful dupes of the left...  thoughts?
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 12, 2016, 09:24:44 PM
http://gizmodo.com/facebook-admits-its-trending-section-includes-topics-no-1776319308

Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: JBTripper on May 12, 2016, 10:23:31 PM
Well the algorithm also features items that get more clicks. Overall liberal sources get more clicks because more people on fb tend to be liberal mainly due to age demographics. However, if you are a raging conservative you will be shown more similar right-leaning articles because it knows your preferences. If anything can be said about fb article selections it is that there is A TON of confirmation bias being perpetuated across the platform. Especially since people tend to only follow those friends with similar views on their feeds. I've been guilty of that myself but I only unfollow friends who never post anything but political opinions especially when they are "that crazy conservative uncle" type. Ultimately, if you don't like looking at liberal news sources of fb then get off fb. They are a private company. Maybe get on Fox's social media site?... oh wait, that's right.

You're talking about the newsfeed, which you are right about being a pit of confirmation bias. But the newsfeed is not related to this at all. The issue is the "trending" section, which is not tailored to your interests, behaviors or connections. It purports to be a representation of the top stories of the day across Facebook, but this story alleges that that is a lie.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: JBTripper on May 12, 2016, 10:37:33 PM
This is so stupid...I will see at least 3 friends who work at Facebook and another that works at Instagram tonight and I won't even start to ask them if this is true because it's so obviously not.  Just another example of a literally stupid Fox News viewer who happens to be in the Millennial demographic group (sadly, I do shed a tear for this) trying desperately to appeal to the stupidity of other Fox News viewers who eat this load of literal cocka up as if it were in the Bible.

On another note, it *SHOULD* be true.  If you are trying to find "conservative bias" that suits the answers you yourself want in trending science, entertainment, and political articles/events/findings, then you deserve to have "real/authentic" information disguised in your silly little mind as "liberal" exclusively thrown your way so that you can begin to grow a fucking brain and gain actual information.

OMG

Who said anything about trying to find conservative bias? You can't find news without bias, because it doesn't exist. The best an informed person can hope to do is to identify known facts, seek out opposing viewpoints and make a decision for themselves. I think what you're arguing is that people attempting to inform themselves should only have easy access to one viewpoint in order to ensure more people come around to your point of view, which is intellectually bankrupt. Come to think of it, that's a fair description of Facebook, isn't it?

And it's caca, and it's figurative.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: UNFurbanist on May 12, 2016, 11:35:18 PM
JBTripper posts the core issue here of why this is diabolical:

"This would all be fine if Facebook was up front about it. It's not fine, though, because Facebook doesn't have an "editorial" section. It doesn't have a "stories picked out for you" section. It has a "trending" section, and they even use little upward-climbing graph arrow icons that seem to say "these things are being placed here based on data gleaned from our users." Which we now know is a lie."

And on queau, the usual suspects appear, instead of actually addressing the core issue - the falsification of what is actually "trending", go to their usual bag of dissembling, straw-manning, obfuscating, scapegoating...

Fox News! Breitbart! Only idiots get news! So what!!!! [my favorite argument to see... lol] Nothing here!  Move along!

Every.Single.Time.

It's highly amusing.

Trending

verb (used without object)
4.to have a general tendency, as events, conditions, etc.
5.to tend to take a particular direction; extend in some direction indicated.
6.to emerge as a popular trend; be currently popular: trending topics on the Internet; words that have trended this year.
7.to veer or turn off in a specified direction, as a river, mountain range, etc.

What about the word trending suggests to anyone that something less than the MOST POPULAR actual stories be presented?

And what does it say if this is NOT the case?

It's hard for me to say whether you are malicious in your activities or actually are just the useful dupes of the left...  thoughts?

Okay. Well my trending section occasionally tells me that "Florida man" stories are trending. Am I suppose to believe that fb is trying to make me hate my home state? It sometimes works... But is it some type of conspiracy? I doubt it. That section also shows me everything from quite legitimate big world/national events all the way to stories about UNF. Do they certainly aren't all macro level trends. Maybe from friends?

 Truthfully I have no flipping idea how they pick the trending topics. Although, I have definitely seen a few articles from the blaze on mine (and even thought "is this suppose to be news?") so is it some giant liberal conspiracy? Doubtful.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 13, 2016, 07:51:33 AM
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/is-facebook-lying

Did Facebook lie? In a "the sky is green" way, no. But in the polished, expertly-hedged, truth-with-a-spin way that corporate communications departments are so good at, yes.

Quote
Is Facebook Lying?
WRITTEN BY SARAH EMERSON
May 12, 2016 // 05:06 PM EST

Did Facebook lie publicly about how it determines which stories to put in its trending news module?

The company has been under intense fire since a Gizmodo investigation earlier this week that alleged the company has a liberal news bias. In response, Facebook vehemently denied the accusations and released what it says are the current guidelines for its trending news section.

However these guidelines, and a set of older training documents leaked to The Guardian, appear to show that Facebook lied or misrepresented the truth to journalists.

The documents appear to conflict with previous statements from the company assuring that algorithms—not humans—select what you see in your news feed, and that its curators never "inject" stories into the trending tool.

Claim #1: It's just an algorithm

The social media company has long insisted that proprietary algorithms for its trending section determine what you see, who you see it from, and when.

In a 2015 story titled “How Facebook decides what’s trending,” Recode wrote: “Once a topic is identified as trending, it’s approved by an actual human being, who also writes a short description for the story. These people don’t get to pick what Facebook adds to the trending section. That’s done automatically by the algorithm.”

Based on the guidelines Facebook released today, this appears to be out-and-out false. (Recode has since updated its story.) While the stories that Facebook's curators are allowed to select from are chosen by an algorithm, it's humans who pick what stories to put into the module, based on a variety of factors including whether the story is a hoax (keep it out) or the story is breaking news (put it in).

Stocky's statement is very carefully worded, and hinges on the word "artificially."

Here’s how it works, according to public statements from Facebook before today: Topics are identified as trending by the algorithm. They are subsequently approved by news curators, who serve no greater role other than writing a brief description of the issue. Choosing what’s added to the trending module is done automatically by an algorithm. Editors “just get to pick the headline,” Facebook told Recode.

Here’s how it really works: Editors are instructed to sift through “Live” topics surfacing in several of Facebook’s algorithmically sorted, backend news feeds. Primarily, stories are selected from “Review Tool,” which seems to aggregate the largest stories of the day, or topics preferred by Facebook’s algorithms.

A secondary feed called “Demo Tool,” reflects topics that are trending based on content users are sharing and discussing on Facebook. This tool may include “blacklisted” or deactivated stories, which are topics that have been suppressed due to insufficient “credible” news coverage, or allegedly, because a curator felt that was a good reason for doing so. When they reappear, editors will see them with a strikethrough. When an curator sees a story in the Demo Tool they wish to include in Facebook’s trending module, they can choose to sort it in the trending section if they feel it complies with editorial guidelines for timeliness, relevance, and credibility.

Curators are also advised to manually “un-blacklist” these items. In their instructions, Facebook wrote that they “will track these instances so the engineers can fix for the future.” It’s unclear whether flagging topics can influence algorithmic biases.

Claim #2: Curators don't "inject" stories

Whether Facebook lied about this depends on how charitable you're feeling, but the company's statements before and after the Gizmodo story are definitely misleading.

In a statement, Facebook's Vice President of Search Tom Stocky wrote, "We do not insert stories artificially into trending topics, and do not instruct our reviewers to do so."

But according to the internal guidelines that Motherboard reviewed, Facebook’s editorial team can "inject" a topic in two scenarios: if a topic is appearing twice, or if a topic is breaking news and appearing in the Demo tool but has not yet hit the Review Tool.

We now know that human judgement played a much bigger role than people would have assumed

This was also confirmed to Motherboard by a source who used to work on the trending news team but declined to speak on the record due to a non-disclosure agreement.

Stocky's statement is very carefully worded, and hinges on the word "artificially." He may be referring to the fact that curators are not allowed to inject a story that did not appear in any of Facebook's backend tools—even though they are allowed to "inject" stories into the module when the topic is breaking and important, as determined by their editorial judgement and that of their superiors.

Claim #3: User preferences are a factor in Facebook Trending

When the module first launched in early 2014, Facebook told TechCrunch it would be tapping into its bounty of data on what individual users like, and who they interact with most on the platform, to inform what shows up in their trending sections.

Again, Facebook told TheNextWeb that trending stories are “based on topics or pages that you’re interested in, as well as keywords that are trending worldwide.”

Facebook explicitly stated to the New York Times that trending items would appear to users based on four criteria: a person’s own interests, “the authority of the people commenting on the topic, how recently the topic has surged on Facebook and how much users are engaging with it.”

These statements would imply that Facebook’s trending section shows users what they want to see, and what other people are currently interested in. That's true to an extent, except individual preferences appear to be much less of a factor than these early statements from Facebook would suggest. The platform’s algorithms can detect what users are chattering about, and that might bring topics to an editor’s attention, but the trending module’s customization only comes into play once stories have already been selected. Curators will select potentially popular topics to highlight, and Facebook’s ranking algorithms will determine which of them show up in your feed.

Facebook ranks trending stories for each individual user based on their likes and dislikes; that determines the order in which to show 10 automatically selected stories. But curators tag stories with keywords once they've been selected to appear in Facebook Trending, which is how Facebook matches stories to individual users. And based on the guidelines Facebook shared today, individual preferences do not seem to affect whether a story qualifies as trending, at least as the module runs now.

So, did Facebook lie?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with editorial judgment; newsrooms would cease to function without it. But what is arguable is when a social media company that’s gradually become the internet for several million of its users—a walled garden for what people see and consume online—starts to conduct itself like a news business while trying to pitch itself as something different.

On its own help page for trending topics, the company wrote that stories are based on “a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location.” Nowhere on the page does it say anything about human curation.

Furthermore, Facebook's repeated references to the dominance of its "algorithms" give the impression that the stories in the trending module are chosen by robots and hard data alone—when that's just not true.

There's also the fact that even algorithms have human bias, since they're written by human engineers.

The point is, Facebook wants people to think that its trending section is automatically populated based on what stories people are organically sharing and talking about. That's why it's called "Trending." We now know that human judgement played a much bigger role than people would have assumed based on Facebook's public statements.

Did Facebook lie? In a "the sky is green" way, no. But in the polished, expertly-hedged, truth-with-a-spin way that corporate communications departments are so good at, yes.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 13, 2016, 08:25:16 AM
lol.

Such whiny babies.  If you don't include their most crazy examples of crazy, then you are 'suppressing' 'conservative' viewpoints?



Let's take Breitbart, etc out of the equation. What about other conservative (and reputable) publications like the Wall Street Journal or the Daily Telegraph?

Although I might not agree with the editorial stance of the Telegraph or Times, I wouldn't include them in the "most crazy examples of crazy".
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 13, 2016, 08:37:11 AM
I could care less whether they editorialize or not.  DO NOT CARE.  Just don't lie that you are... pretty fukin simple.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 13, 2016, 09:10:34 AM
lol... as always... as long as it spins counter clockwise...  polished, expertly-hedged, truth-with-a-spin way.  Don't even have a facebook account... don't waste my time with such trivial crap... 8)

Happy Friday!  :D
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 09:21:19 AM
I could care less whether they editorialize or not.  DO NOT CARE.  Just don't lie that you are... pretty fukin simple.

Here they come again, right on cue...  FOX NEWS! WINGNUTS! BATSHIT CRAZY...!!!  Soon we will get the "so what!, Isn't there anything mor eimportant to focus on!!!  MOve ALONG!


Meanwhile the entire essence of the outrage is purposefully ignored and dissembled.

DID FB DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU THEY ARE DOING?  That is the only question.  What is the answer Steven?

This is what they SAID they did:

How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?

"Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location."

https://www.facebook.com/help/737806312958641

HOWEVER - this is what the ACTUALLY did:

https://fbnewsroomus.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/full-trending-review-guidelines.pdf

Page 21 for "Injecting Topics"...

And now this here

"Its literally no accident that this issue comes up just before the Trump people will need social media support in the general election."

Hmmmm  why would this be of concern to people who KNOW that FB itself has claimed to literralyinfluence elections, both in turnout and in FB Page fundraising?

Oh wait, let's look at internal FB "questions for Mark" for some guidance here:

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/qpunmjqkzixdzhoiasam.JPG)

http://gizmodo.com/facebook-employees-asked-mark-zuckerberg-if-they-should-1771012990

Oh and how might Mark feel about Trump?

http://gizmodo.com/mark-zuckerberg-throws-shade-at-donald-trump-during-key-1770534129#_ga=1.30452089.778886705.1458001093

"“As I look around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against the idea of a connected world and a global community,” Zuckerberg said.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet,” he said.

“It takes courage to choose hope over fear,” Zuckerberg said as he began winding down his rant. “People will always call you naive but it’s this hope and optimism that’s behind every important step forward.”"




But none of this is relevant right?  People should just assume that what FB says is true is true, that these "trending topics" reflect the interests of the 1 billion daily user base.  That it is "organic" and derived from "algorithms" and is not a deliberate disinformation campaign being conducted by a few inside of FB, designed to confuse, dishearten and persuade.  Dishonestly.

Somebody has a bad case of "Head Up Ass" Syndrome...
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 09:32:00 AM
I know the brigades will continue in denial... for those who may have an open mind and lack the red Kool-Aid stained lips of the cognoscentie here...

Consider all of this in light of the below... then make a decision.

A 2012 study published in the journal Nature, “A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization,” tested the idea that voting behavior can be significantly influenced by messages on Facebook. On Election Day 2010 — the Congressional midterms — 60,055,176 Facebook users were shown messages at the top of their news feeds that encouraged them to vote, pointed to nearby polling places, offered a place to click “I Voted” and displayed images of select friends who had already voted (the “social message”). Two smaller groups — each about 600,000 people — were given either voting-encouragement messages but no data about friends’ behavior (an “informational message”) or were not given any voting-related messages.

The researchers, from the University of California, San Diego, and Facebook, also were able to analyze the voting behavior of approximately 6.3 million subjects using publicly available records. For the study’s purposes, close friends were defined by the frequency of online interactions and were assumed to be more likely to have face-to-face interactions. The researchers involved were Robert M. Bond, Christopher J. Fariss, Jason J. Jones, Adam D. I. Kramer, Cameron Marlow, Jaime E. Settle and James H. Fowler, the corresponding author.

The study’s findings include:

The data “suggest that the Facebook social message increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280,000 voters, for a total of 340,000 additional votes.”

Strong ties between friends proved much more influential than weak ties: “Close friends exerted about four times more influence on the total number of validated voters mobilized than the message itself…. Online mobilization works because it primarily spreads through strong-tie networks that probably exist offline but have an online representation.”

“To put these results in context, it is important to note that turnout has been steadily increasing in recent U.S. midterm elections, from 36.3% of the voting-age population in 2002 to 37.2% in 2006, and to 37.8% in 2010.” The 340,000 additional votes attributed to Facebook messages represents “0.14% of the voting age population of about 236 million in 2010…. It is possible that more of the 0.60% growth in turnout between 2006 and 2010 might have been caused by a single message on Facebook.”

The researchers conclude the study has a number of implications: “First and foremost, online political mobilization works. It induces political self-expression, but it also induces information gathering and real, validated voter turnout. Although previous research suggested that online messages do not work, it is possible that conventional sample sizes may not be large enough to detect the modest effect sizes shown here. We also show that social mobilization in online networks is significantly more effective than informational mobilization alone. Showing familiar faces to users can dramatically improve the effectiveness of a mobilization message.”

- See more at: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/digital-democracy/facebook-61-million-person-experiment-social-influence-political-mobilization#sthash.pAv0dq7n.dpuf

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/nature11421.html
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 13, 2016, 09:42:25 AM

This is what they SAID they did:

How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?

"Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location."

https://www.facebook.com/help/737806312958641



Based on a number of factors, including...

Not: based on a number of factors including and limited to....

I think it's unethical to massage or manage the trending stories feed without being open about it. Facebook users may not pay to use the service, but Facebook profits from them. As such, they have a right to be treated fairly.

There is a secondary issue here - whether or not this manipulation (if it did occur) was sanctioned by Facebook or whether it was just a common practice that happened, unbeknownst to the higher-ups.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 13, 2016, 09:50:16 AM
Consider all of this in light of the below... then make a decision.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/nature11421.html

It's quite a leap to infer that because messages to get-out-the-vote increases turnout, then messages-for-a-cause must convert people to that cause.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 10:27:03 AM

This is what they SAID they did:

How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?

"Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location."

https://www.facebook.com/help/737806312958641



Based on a number of factors, including...

Not: based on a number of factors including and limited to....

I think it's unethical to massage or manage the trending stories feed without being open about it. Facebook users may not pay to use the service, but Facebook profits from them. As such, they have a right to be treated fairly.

There is a secondary issue here - whether or not this manipulation (if it did occur) was sanctioned by Facebook or whether it was just a common practice that happened, unbeknownst to the higher-ups.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Adam. 

Would you prefer that Facebook allow troll armies to determine its feed?

And what do you think they are 'massaging'?

Credibility seems to have been the main determinant.

Wait what?  "Credibility seems to have been the main determinant."  I thought this was so LOL and NOTHING happened and they don't have a "direct source" and this was literally nothing etc.? 

Wait did they actually INJECT stories into trending that were NOT trending according to their algorithms?   And for what purpose?  It was random right?  It had no bias right? No point of view?

Continue to dissemble and obfuscate.  We can leave aside for the moment the subjective issue of credibility.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 10:27:39 AM
Consider all of this in light of the below... then make a decision.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/nature11421.html

It's quite a leap to infer that because messages to get-out-the-vote increases turnout, then messages-for-a-cause must convert people to that cause.

The party notes your contribution to the cause Finehoe.  Carry on...
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 13, 2016, 11:19:06 AM

This is what they SAID they did:

How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?

"Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you've liked and your location."

https://www.facebook.com/help/737806312958641



Based on a number of factors, including...

Not: based on a number of factors including and limited to....

I think it's unethical to massage or manage the trending stories feed without being open about it. Facebook users may not pay to use the service, but Facebook profits from them. As such, they have a right to be treated fairly.

There is a secondary issue here - whether or not this manipulation (if it did occur) was sanctioned by Facebook or whether it was just a common practice that happened, unbeknownst to the higher-ups.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Adam. 

Would you prefer that Facebook allow troll armies to determine its feed?

And what do you think they are 'massaging'?

Credibility seems to have been the main determinant.

Hi Stephen

Of course I don't want troll armies to derail the feed. I would prefer the feed to stick to regular, trending news. As I mentioned before, I have got news stories from there before.

I don't know what they are massaging (or if they even are). My response was more general - as in, if they are massaging the feed to exclude certain viewpoints (and not being transparent about that fact), then it would be an issue for me.

I don't know if they bury news they don't like and I am not saying they do. I am simply stating that I wouldn't agree with such behavior.

This is totally anecdotal - but I find when I click on a topic that is trending, I tend to get related storied from the Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post, etc. So I don't know if they are possibly a) managing which related articles show in order to reflect a particular bias or b) choosing to display trending topics that are (based on the subject matter) more likely to link to certain news providers (like the Guardian, Indy, HuffPo, etc).

Or they could be basing it on my preferences - what I re-post, what I click on, who my friends are, etc.

News stories are one thing. The weird ones are where they show topics that are trending - like when they post something about something that has gone viral or maybe a petition that is becoming popular. Those sorts of things are certainly trending. But does Facebook maybe highlight certain things (like a petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK) and ignore another, more 'conservative' thing that's happening and trending (in order to not give it the oxygen of publicity)?

I'm not saying Facebook does this - it is an honest question. That's the sort of thing I'd like to find out.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 11:36:03 AM
"I'm not saying Facebook does this - it is an honest question. That's the sort of thing I'd like to find out."

That's the sort of thing insider's are alleging takes place... which is what started this whole thread.  And a congressional investigation.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 13, 2016, 11:56:09 AM
After fifteen years of public lying and fabrications---including being caught in them every time, its hard to take anything these outrage clowns say very seriously.

And the dimwitted among us swallow it hook, line, and sinker every time.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 12:30:31 PM
After fifteen years of public lying and fabrications---including being caught in them every time, its hard to take anything these outrage clowns say very seriously.

And the dimwitted among us swallow it hook, line, and sinker every time.

""Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook"

Except when we show articles that we just want you to think became popular on Facebook.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 12:38:33 PM
its also a lie, btw.

"Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module."

So tell me how you know the sources for this story are actually lying when they say that "they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all."???

What is the basis for your conclusion that they had to be lying?

[we will pause here for a musical tap dance interlude that will studiously avoid answering the question posed... allowing other party members to continue their shaming, disinformation and obfuscation campaign... in three two one.  Hit it! shuffle shuffle hop step]

http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 13, 2016, 01:21:04 PM
So tell me how you know the sources for this story are actually lying when they say that "they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all."???

What is the basis for your conclusion that they had to be lying?

The part about "left-leaning" is the lie.  Only one person has made that claim, the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 01:55:24 PM
So tell me how you know the sources for this story are actually lying when they say that "they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all."???

What is the basis for your conclusion that they had to be lying?

The part about "left-leaning" is the lie.  Only one person has made that claim, the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part.

and the word 'artificially inject' was also a lie.  You cannot do this unless it is already trending but from a blocked source that has to be checked on a case by case basis.

The only other example was in the category of breaking news, like the charlie hebdo attacks or the Paris Bombing.  Any News Organization that doesn't anticipate those stories as breaking and trending should be shut down.

So please, continue to mesh out this completely fabricated non story.

Stephen doubles down on the "it's a lie" card... 

Finehoe " the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part."  I'd say that was a Freudian Slip, but you might actually just mean it.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Adam White on May 13, 2016, 02:02:39 PM


If I read that an orange juice drink had an ingredient list that 'included' aspartame, I wouldn't assume that it was an aspartame only beverage.



Yeah, I made the point earlier. They said including, not including and limited to. They cast the net wide and are suitably vague. So I wouldn't necessarily call that a lie.
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: Sentient on May 13, 2016, 02:14:29 PM
So tell me how you know the sources for this story are actually lying when they say that "they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all."???

What is the basis for your conclusion that they had to be lying?

The part about "left-leaning" is the lie.  Only one person has made that claim, the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part.

and the word 'artificially inject' was also a lie.  You cannot do this unless it is already trending but from a blocked source that has to be checked on a case by case basis.

The only other example was in the category of breaking news, like the charlie hebdo attacks or the Paris Bombing.  Any News Organization that doesn't anticipate those stories as breaking and trending should be shut down.

So please, continue to mesh out this completely fabricated non story.

Stephen doubles down on the "it's a lie" card... 

Finehoe " the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part."  I'd say that was a Freudian Slip, but you might actually just mean it.

You know what this means right?

Vince Foster wasn't a suicide.

InPEACH!

(http://49.media.tumblr.com/9a5a19aeea5ab5106b307ea0705d39da/tumblr_nq8aqiszcZ1tdo271o1_500.gif)
Title: Re: Facebook's Left-Leaning Bias
Post by: finehoe on May 13, 2016, 05:56:57 PM
Finehoe " the other "news curators" don't collaborate that part."  I'd say that was a Freudian Slip, but you might actually just mean it.

Sorry, that's supposed to be "corroborate".