As Facebook’s parent company “Meta” continues to falter under the “Metaverse”-obsessed Mark Zuckerberg’s eccentric leadership, a new controversy has arrived for the social media giant, and it could have some serious complications for their user base.
As it turns out, in an effort to prevent any undue controversies, Facebook attempted to simply make political material disappear just after the January 6th protest at the Capitol.
Facebook attempted to mute the majority of political posts in its efforts to avoid controversy, according to internal documents.Advertisement - story continues below
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team had Facebook demote “sensitive” posts on the newsfeed in the months after the Jan. 6 riots, according to internal documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The demotion was encouraged to counter critics’ claims that the Big Tech giant profited from promoting political and controversial content on its platform. While the effort helped make Facebook appear less political, it hurt traditional publishers and user satisfaction.
The maneuver proved to be a bit of a boondoggle.
The demotion also had detrimental effects on its users. Traditional news outlets such as CNN and Fox News saw their content go down by 40% to 60% in engagement, while less trustworthy outlets saw their engagement rise. Users also reported dissatisfaction with the platform and donated less through Facebook’s fundraising feature.
The company tested the features in the U.S. and Canadian markets and intended to roll them out on a wider basis in the summer of 2022. However, the costs involved led Zuckerberg to end the program change by the end of June 2022.
The revelation will surely impact the way users interact with Facebook in the future, knowing that the experience is now more curated than ever, and arbitrarily so.