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Facebook Is Now Suppressing 'Untrustworthy' Media Sites: What Could Go Wrong?


Facebook is now ranking news sources based on their "trustworthiness" as part of a new effort to fight "fake news" on the platform.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the initiative before media executives Tuesday.Those executives include representatives from BuzzFeed News, CNN, Huffington Post and several others.

 He said the new algorithm promotes trustworthy news sites and suppresses untrustworthy news sites.

"We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we're going to dial up the intensity of that over time," BuzzFeed reported. "We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground."

Zuckerberg explained that a news organization's "trustworthiness" is solely determined by how consumers feel about the source. The company has asked consumers to identify if they are familiar with a certain publication, if they interact with it, and if they trust it.

That same day, Facebook users in the United States noticed an unusual question appearing near posts on their newsfeed: "Does this post contain hate speech?"

Facebook later issued a statement that the question was a part of an internal test to help understand "hate speech" better.

"Some people saw 'does this post contain hate speech' today on some posts. This was a test — and a bug that we reverted within 20 mins," Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product wrote on Twitter.

These new efforts to crack down on hate speech and untrustworthy media sites follows allegations that Facebook is partially responsible for Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.

Zuckerberg said in a speech during the company's annual F8 developer conference Tuesday that he is working to "protect election integrity."

"We're hard at work making sure that people don't misuse this platform," he said "In 2016 we were slow to anticipate Russian interference, we expected more traditional cyber-attacks… but we didn't expect these coordinated information operations and large networks of fake accounts."

However, some are concerned this new effort will censor conservative news sites that some of the public deem as untrustworthy.

Several conservative organizations have complained that Facebook has "blacklisted" them and stopped their followers from seeing their content.

Diamond and Silk, two Pro-Trump, conservative media personalities, testified before Congress last week that Facebook was censoring their content.

"Facebook along with other social media sites have taken aggressive actions to silence conservative voices such as ourselves by deliberately restricting and weaponizing our page with algorithms that censored and suppress our free speech," the women said.

"We've also noticed how someone with a liberal point of view that spewed hate against the President can garner up to 19 million views with only 539,000 followers, yet we have 1.2 million followers and only received 13,000 views on our video."

The women say they have been notified by Facebook that their content is "unsafe" to the Facebook community.

Last month, Zuckerberg testified before Congress about a data leaking scandal and was pressed by Senator Ted Cruz about conservative censorship on the platform.

 "There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook," Cruz said.

Zuckerberg admitted that Silicon Valley is "an extremely-left leaning place."

"This is actually a concern that I have, that I try to root out in the company, is making sure that we don't have any bias in the work that we do, and I think that it is a fair concern that people would wonder about it," he added. "Now what I can say, and I do want to get this in before the end here, is that I am very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas."

CBN News has reached out to Facebook for further comment and had not heard back from the time of publication.

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