Facebook has “reduced” the reach of feminist satire site Reductress, citing concerns about the “repeated sharing of clickbait,” according to a message posted by the website’s co-founder, Sarah Pappalardo.
The feminist co-founder complained about censorship in response, sarcastically thanking Facebook for “being on the cutting edge of regulating public discourse in a post on Twitter.
— Sarah Pappalardo (@yourpappalardo) September 5, 2019
Her comments echo those made by conservatives, including President Donald Trump, Breitbart News, and many Republican lawmakers, who have for years been raising the alarm about the ability of Silicon Valley tech giants to manipulate public debate on the Internet.
Talking to Gizmodo, Pappalardo blamed mistakes by Facebook’s AI for the censorship of her website.
“Bad algorithms have resulted in Reductress and actual people to be throttled or even suspended with almost no outlet to challenge the decision,” Pappalardo told Gizmodo.
“Given the nature of what we do, especially in relation to sites like Clickhole and the Onion, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t something inherently problematic in deciding that our content is ‘clickbait’ but theirs somehow isn’t.”
According to Pappalardo, Facebook cited two clickbaity headlines as a justification for their decision: “Wow! This Ethical Brand Only Sells One T-Shirt But They Worked Really Hard on it,” and “Wow! Megan Markle Just Broke Royal Protocol.”
“Clickbait” is a word that describes a form of headline on an Internet article that is designed to generate clicks, and typically direct readers to articles that do not reflect what the headline suggests. “Clickbait” has evolved into a term of disparagement for articles that over-promise in headlines and under-deliver in content.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.