Facebook performed an "emergency change" with its algorithm to stop certain news sources from spreading what it calls "fake news" or "misinformation" surrounding the election, a report says.
The Blaze reported that Facebook's "emergency plan" used a "secret internal ranking" to weigh news sources. With the new algorithm, Facebook can detect "signals about the quality" of news posted on their website.
In layman's terms, Facebook created a machine-learning algorithm that can predict posts which are considered "bad." Once identified, post visibility will be reduced dramatically on people's news feed.
Mainstream news outlets like the New York Times, NPR and CNN got featured whereas news from "right-wing" outlets such as Breitbart and One America News seem to have been suppressed and their posts unseen from the giant social media platform.
The emergency change was an idea hatched by Facebook's employees and is actually one of the several "break glass" plans of the company following the election in case any contention will arise from the result. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of the social media giant, approved of the algorithm change months before, but agreed to the new internal rankings following the election when employees notified him of "election misinformation" going viral on the site.
According to The New York Times as reported by The Blaze, "Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users' feeds. But several days after the election, Mr. Zuckerberg agreed to increase the weight that Facebook's algorithm gave to N.E.Q. scores to make sure authoritative news appeared more prominently"
After the algorithm change took effect, news from prominent news outlets became more visible on Facebook's News Feed while "right wing" outlets like Breitbart, Occupy Democrats and The Police Tribune, to name a few, discovered that their posts are not reaching their followers.
To quote Christopher Berg, The Police Tribune's editor-in-chief:
"Not only are our posts not reaching our followers, but I've been in contact with numerous other independent publishers who publish non-partisan news and they are affected as well."
In the report, Berg wrote that Facebook may have led people to believe that what happened is caused by a "non-biased quality score" using an algorithm, but what really happened is that the social media giant made "an editorial decision about which news can be seen and which can't."
Last week, Facebook executive Guy Rosen, who oversees the company's integrity division, explained during a conference call to reporters that the post-election changes in Facebook's algorithm were temporary.
"There has never been a plan to make these permanent," Rosen said.
However, there were reports that some wishes to make the changes permanent which would then create a drop in the visibility of right-wing sources.
The Times' also sees Facebook current move as "less divisive" now that several post-election reports have been going viral between Trump and Biden.
However, supporters of President Donald Trump and Republicans do not share the same sentiment. The algorithm changes looks to be a blatant censorship of news reports with the purpose of limiting the spread of crucial information, which the left brands as "misinformation," regarding what is happening right now after the election.