Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook engineers to tweak its algorithm to throttle traffic to certain news websites, according to report
Facebook altered its algorithm to prevent articles from certain news websites from appearing on its newsfeed, a new report states.
According to the Wall Street Journal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg approved the changes that would result in the websites receiving a cut in traffic and views three years ago.
The move came after the social media giant originally announced in 2017 that it would be rejigging its newsfeed to minimize the presence of political news and focus instead on posts from friends and family.
That decision was made in the wake of the 2016 election when Facebook had been accused of allowing sharing and posting of misinformation on its platform that affected voters.
Yet, according to the WSJ, executives at Facebook were concerned that these algorithm changes would have more of an effect on right-wing publications, such as the Daily Wire, then those on the left.
As a result, Zuckerberg approved engineers altering the algorithm once more, to redesign their intended changes so that left-leaning sites were more affected in the policy change than had originally been planned.
Those affected, the WSJ states, included the site Mother Jones, among others.
Zuckerberg has a personal relationship with Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro, they add, although they could not be described as friends.
'We did not make changes with the intent of impacting individual publishers,' a Facebook spokesman said.
Another policy change just last August also angered progressive sites who claim that Zuckerberg is less accommodating to their agenda.
The WSJ reports that Zuckerberg believed a new progressive news network, Courier Newsroom, which is part-owned by a left-leaning nonprofit with close ties to Democratic donors, was not a real news source because of its political ties.
The discussion around the legitimacy of Courier Newsroom as a news source lead to the decision in the summer to limit the reach of partisan-backed sites on Facebook.
This involved blocking their pages from inclusion in Facebook News, restricting their access to the Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp platforms and curtailing their advertising.
Acronym, the backer behind Courier Newsroom, claimed that this decision favored conservative sites.
The company has also come under fire from progressives over the decision not to remove posts deemed as false from President Trump.