A study released today by The Western Journal does nothing to ease concerns that social media giant Facebook is silencing conservative voices.
According to the report, the interaction rate on pages managed by Republican members of Congress decreased by 37.03 percent after the January algorithm change.
Pages maintained by Democrat members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate only decreased by 27.14 percent.
In other words, Republican pages suffered a 26.8 percent larger decline than Democrat pages.
According to The Western Journal:
The Western Journal downloaded months of pre- and post-algorithm change data through CrowdTangle, a social monitoring platform owned by Facebook, for congressional Facebook pages from August 2017 through June 2018. The charts below compare data from the first five months of this period with data from the last five months. (January 2018 data was omitted because the algorithm change was made partway through the month.)
The Western Journal looked at total interactions — reactions, comments and shares on a post — and interaction rates — average interactions divided by the number of page followers for each page. Regardless of a change in the number of posts or followers, the interaction rate on a given Facebook page should remain similar from month to month, all else being equal.
According to the analysis, Republican Senator pages suffered the biggest decline — 44.37 percent.
Democrat pages run by Senators declined 31.97 percent, according to The Western Journal.
Pages maintained by House Republicans suffered, too.
They decreased by 31.58 percent, while Democrat pages went down only 25.1 percent.
Conservative voices have complained that Facebook is targeting them trough the algorithm change.
In April, the pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk took to the social media site to say it was punishing them for their views, deeming them “unsafe to the community.”
“Diamond And Silk have been corresponding since September 7, 2017, with Facebook (owned by Mark Zuckerberg), about their bias censorship and discrimination against D&S brand page,” they wrote.
“Finally after several emails, chats, phone calls, appeals, beating around the bush, lies, and giving us the run around, Facebook gave us another bogus reason why Millions of people who have liked and/or followed our page no longer receives notification and why our page, post and video reach was reduced by a very large percentage,” echoing the complaints of many conservative and pro-Trump pages.
Here is the reply from Facebook. Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 3:40 PM: “The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community.”
The pair say it took “6 Months, 29 days, 5 hrs, 40 minutes and 43 seconds” to get a response, which they add the network said is “final and it is not appeal-able in any way.”
They posed several questions to Facebook and Zuckerberg, including, “What is unsafe about two Blk-women supporting the President Donald J. Trump?”
“This is deliberate bias, censorship and discrimination. These tactics are unacceptable and we want answers!” they wrote.
A few days later, Zuckerberg was questioned by Congress about the matter and was forced to address the issue.
“I’m going to read you a question that I was asked, I got this through Facebook and I got dozens like this: ‘Please ask Mr. Zuckerberg, why is Facebook censoring conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? Facebook called them unsafe to the community. That is ludicrous. They hold conservative views. That isn’t unsafe.’
“What’s your response?” Rep. Joe Barton of Texas questioned.
“Congressman, in that specific case, our team made an enforcement error, and we’ve already got in touch with them to reverse it,” Zuckerberg said.