Facebook bias


Written by

Christian Science Monitor (May 11) -- A former Facebook employee’s contention that the site’s “news curators” routinely omitted popular conservative news from its “trending news” feed has reignited a long-running debate about online news, media bias, and what political scientists say is a trend toward increasing political polarization. Several “folk theories” – including a “Narcissus Theory” that users will see more from friends similar to them and a perspective that suggests Facebook is all powerful and unknowable – shaped how some users manipulated the site, says Karrie Karahalios, an associate professor of computer science at Illinois. Karahalios and several colleagues collected these folk theories together in a recently published paper by giving users access to an interface disclosing “seams” that provided hints into how Facebook’s algorithm works. “We found that it got people thinking a little bit more and it got them to try things on Facebook that they wouldn’t have thought of before, they had a bit more knowledge and they had a tool set available to them that they could put action into their news feed.”

Share this story

This story was published May 11, 2016.