Zuckerberg denies that Facebook is run by the right wing

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Zuckerberg denies that Facebook is a ‘right-wing echo chamber’

Data appears to show otherwise.

Sep 9, 2020, 11:38 am*

Tech

 

Libby Cohen

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed the social media network is not a “right-wing echo chamber” in an Axios interview on Tuesday.

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Facebook in particular has come under scrutiny, as their top-performing posts consistently come from the extreme right-wing, despite outcries from prominent Republicans who claim social media censors them. But yesterday, Zuckerberg refused to call Facebook a place for the far-right.

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"Well actually across the spectrum, I do not think this is a Democrat or Republican thing," Zuckerberg said.

But, a Twitter page that ranks the highest performing Facebook posts shows differently.

"The top-performing link posts by U.S. Facebook pages in the last 24 hours are from: 1. Fox News 2. Franklin Graham 3. Donald Trump 2020 Voters 4. David J. Harris Jr. 5. Dan Bongino 6. Ben Shapiro 7. Jean-Claude Van Damme 8. BLACKPINK 9. Ben Shapiro 10. Ben Shapiro," the page tweeted this week.

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The page is maintained by New York Times technology reporter Kevin Roose.

Every name on that list coincides with the right or far-right except Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and South Korean girl-band BLACKPINK.

Day after day, Facebook's top 10 shows popular right-wing voices. On Sept. 4, Blues Lives Matter was an included page on the list.

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But, when Axios journalist Mike Allen described Facebook as a "right wing echo chamber," Zuckerberg denied the claim.

"I think your characterization is frankly wrong," Zuckerberg said. "I don't think that the service is a 'right-wing echo chamber' to use your words. I think that everyone can use their voice and can find media that they trust that reflects the opinions and life experiences that they are having."

Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said Zuckerberg clearly is not aware of the content on his own site.

"Facebooks CEO isn't very familiar with his site..." she tweeted.

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At one point in the interview, Zuckerberg said that people are talking about meaningful, nonpartisan, and mainstream news. Then, he pivoted to admit that the most engaging posts are polarizing.

"It's true that partisan content often has a higher percent of people who see it, engaging with it, commenting on it, liking it," Zuckerberg said. "But, I think it is important to differentiate that from broadly what people are seeing and reading and learning about on our service."

He said these "partisan" topics are the current discourse of the country and not generated by a Facebook algorithm.

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*First Published: Sep 9, 2020, 11:34 am