Zuckerberg Changed Facebook Algorithm to Highlight CNN, The New York Times Post-Election

The goal was to showcase “authoritative” outlets and make “hyperpartisan” outlets like Breitbart less prominent

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed the platform’s algorithm following the 2020 election to highlight outlets like CNN, the New York Times and NPR, according to a report from the Times on Tuesday morning. At the same time, Facebook moved to make “hyperpartisan pages,” as the Times put it, like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats less visible in users’ News Feeds, three people familiar with Zuckerberg’s decision told the NYT.

The temporary tweak aimed to reduce the spread of inaccurate election information on the site, according to the Times. Zuckerberg’s decision came after Facebook employees, seeing President Trump claim the election was rigged against him, “proposed an emergency change” to make “authoritative news” more prominent.

It’s unclear how long the changes were in place for, but they appear to have ended. Facebook vice president Guy Rosen told the Times “there has never been a plan to make these permanent.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter.

Since making the changes a few weeks ago, some Facebook employees have pushed for the “nicer” News Feed to become permanent, the report added.

The Times’ report comes after Facebook made several changes leading up to the 2020 election in an effort to reduce misinformation, including cutting off political advertising for a week following the election. The goal, Facebook said, was to stop U.S. politicians from proclaiming premature victory.

It also comes after several outlets were concerned Facebook was turning into a right-wing echo chamber, with conservative-leaning outlets like Fox News and The Daily Wire performing exceptionally well on the platform. TheWrap recently looked into why conservative media dominates on Facebook, and you can read the full story by clicking here.


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