Conservatives frequently claim Facebook is biased against them. Facebook employees say it's the other way around.
While Facebook has been resistant to fact checking content on its site, it has gathered a team of fact checkers who are supposed to flag blatant or harmful misinformation. But Facebook employees say that hasn't happened when misinformation comes from conservative outlets, creating a "pattern of preferential treatment for right-wing publishers and pages," BuzzFeed News reports.
The spread of misinformation on Facebook has worried its employees, who reportedly asked CEO Mark Zuckerberg last Friday why the far-right site Breitbart News is still a Facebook News partner, receiving compensation and special placement on Facebook's news tab, after promoting unfounded coronavirus treatments and saying masks aren't necessary. Zuckerberg reportedly responded that Breitbart had one strike of misinformation against it in the past 90 days, and it needs two to be removed from the news tab.
But Facebook employees say Breitbart, along with other conservative publishers including Charlie Kirk, Diamond and Silk, and Prager University, have all "received special treatment" and had some misinformation overlooked, BuzzFeed continues. "It appears that policy people have been intervening in fact-checks on behalf of *exclusively* right-wing publishers, to avoid them getting repeat-offender status," one employee wrote on an internal message board.
Employees say they're concerned about more than just incorrect information and conspiracy theories. "I do think we're headed for a problematic scenario where Facebook is going to be used to aggressively undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. elections, in a way that has never been possible in history," one employee wrote on an internal message board this week.
A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed "we defer to third-party fact-checkers on the rating that a piece of content receives," and punish misinformation spreaders from there. Read more at BuzzFeed News.