Facebook will adjust its algorithm to reduce the visibility of political posts, according to a report in Axios, a move that will hurt the top-performing political pages on the platform — most of which are conservative.
Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.
Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.
Details: Moving forward, Facebook will expand some of its current News Feed tests that put less emphasis on certain engagement signals, like the probability that a user will share or comment on a post, in its ranking algorithm.
The success of conservatives on Facebook has long been a complaint of Democrats and the establishment media. During the 2020 election, the New York Times ran a piece lamenting the fact that conservative pages like Breitbart News, the Hodge Twins, Dan Bongino, and Dinesh D’Souza regularly outperformed liberal rivals on the platform.
Recent data from Facebook’s own analytics service showed that Breitbart News continues to demolish its establishment media competitors on Facebook.
Facebook’s move away from political content will hurt the most successful political publishers on the platform while boosting news publishers that can afford to create large quantities of non-political content — like the corporate establishment media.
It’s not the first time Facebook has conducted a move like this. During Trump’s first term, it made a major change to its algorithm that reduced emphasis on publishers and public figures while favoring posts from friends and family members. The result was a nearly 50 percent drop in engagement to President Trump’s page, and massive declines in Facebook traffic for conservative publishers.
Facebook already reduced the amount of political content for users earlier this year, a move that Axios acknowledged hit conservative publishers more than others.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.