Facebook’s neutrality called into question

Facebook has been accused of squelching conservative points of view.

Facebook has been accused of squelching conservative points of view.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites, with an estimated 1.65 billion users in the first quarter of 2016. The site personalizes the accounts of users, using mechanics that bringing posts to the user that he/she had previously shown interest in.

Recently Facebook has come under fire for allegedly discriminating against conservative points of view. Although Facebook’s system of reporting other pages as inappropriate has been a hot topic since its creation, a new voice has suggested political bias on the platform. A former editor on the tech-blog “Gizmodo” said that “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz,” the former editor told Gizmodo.

According to a Pew Research Center study, about 63 percent of Facebook users use the site as a news source, meaning Facebook is “the news” for roughly 1.07 billion people. If the allegations are true, then Facebook has been treating a massive number of users unfairly. The accusations against Facebook may lead to the discovery of more unanticipated discrimination against conservatives.

The site can be advantageous to politicians who are running for office. Anyone can amass a following on Facebook, and posting on the site can result in a wave of support. Concerns have been raised over whether political bias on Facebook could affect politics in real life, but at this point the only evidence-backed accusations of political bias (evidence being the quote from the former editor), are the claims there’s bias in the “trending” list.

Hard evidence regarding the claims against Facebook have yet to come to light, but the story has caught the attention of the “New York Times,” “USA Today,” and celebrities, most notably is conservative Milo Yiannopoulos – who on Friday challenged Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to a live debate. In response, Zuckerberg has invited conservative media figures including Glenn Beck and Dana Perino to Facebook headquarters for a meeting this week.

By Billy Macom

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed on westshoreroar.com are those of student journalists and do not reflect the views of Brevard Public Schools or its employees.