But where Facebook has been much kinder to Trump is in its extremely permissive attitude toward the numerous low-quality and sometimes fraudulent fan pages that dominate the right-wing political space within the social network: Content that features videos of “patriots” beating “thugs,” wild conspiracy theories, fabricated stories and worshipful coverage of the president.
According to a study released in August by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, low-quality websites like Breitbart News, Conservative Tribune, Gateway Pundit, Truthfeed, Western Journalism, Political Insider, and EndingtheFed were among the most popular conservative sites shared by Facebook users.
Despite being operated by small companies with almost no footprint within the larger media landscape, many of these pages have millions of “likes” on Facebook. That’s largely the result of early ad spending, which the social network encouraged in the mid-2000s as it was trying to get a foothold in political advertising, according to people who have worked in the industry.
These junk pages, most of which employ almost no one with real journalism experience, enjoyed more influence on Facebook in the 2016 presidential election than more traditional conservative media organizations like the Washington Times, the New York Post or the Washington Examiner. The conspiracy-peddling Breitbart News, Conservative Tribune and Gateway Pundit sites even beat Fox News Channel, the researchers found.
The readers are clearly getting what the readers themselves desire to get.
Not that lovely line about “no one with real journalism experience.” People without an Ms. in Journalism are writing things I don’t like! And getting millions of readers!
Facebook, which declined repeated requests to comment for this story, appears to inflict no penalty on pages that frequently produce misleading or false content.
People must not be allowed to contradict the narrative!
Yes, a lot of this stuff really is shite but so what? That’s exactly what free speech means.