Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway joined CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday to explain why Facebook needs to be more transparent in their news selection process.
Last week, former Facebook employees revealed that they regularly suppressed conservative news when selecting items for the Trending Topics sidebar. These reports confirmed suspicions held by many in conservative media for so long, she said.
“We’ve certainly experienced this [blacklisting] at The Federalist,” Hemingway said. “We had a story on trigger warnings and micro-aggressions, which couldn’t be posted because it was deemed ‘unsafe’ which is ridiculous.”
The worst example of the social network’s censorship was when The Center for Media Progress released a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ trafficking scheme.
“It took a very long time for Facebook to acknowledge that this was a trending topic, and then when they did, they didn’t link to the conservative sites that were actually breaking the news and doing the investigations, they linked to a few Planned Parenthood sponsored items instead,” she said. “Our data showed that story went viral immediately, that it didn’t show up on trending topics is bizarre to the highest degree.”
“That really affects the way public opinion can be shaped and how other media figures respond,” she said. “This is not a healthy thing — particularly since they present this Trending Topics thing as if it’s just an algorithm and as if they are neutral.”
Leaked internal documents revealed that a select list of approved news sites dictated much of what did and did not get included onto their Trending Topics sidebar.
“Some of those sources are state controlled, some of those are communist news organizations out of China,” she said. “[There are] all sorts of ways you can manipulate that using state controlled media. So we need to see much more transparency from Facebook.”
“They keep a list of things that were blacklisted, I would like to see that list,” she said.