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Are social media firms biased against conservatives? No, says Facebook data

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by Oliver Darcy, CNN Business — May 29, 2020 .

President Donald Trump has angrily complained this week about social media companies, repeatedly accusing them of censoring conservative voices and going as far as to sign an executive order Thursday seeking to limit their power.

But data from Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, pours cold water on the assertion that conservative voices are being silenced.

In fact, according to CrowdTangle, a data-analytics firm owned by Facebook, content from conservative news organizations dominates Facebook and often outperforms content from straightforward news organizations.

Additionally, over the last month on Facebook, Trump has captured 91% of the total interactions on content posted by the US presidential candidates, according to CrowdTangle. Biden has captured only 9%.

CrowdTangle computes interactions by totaling the number of likes, comments, and shares a post receives.

Over the last month, the top performing news organization in the US was Fox News, a conservative network which largely echoes the Trump White House’s messaging.

Fox News captured 13% of all interactions among US news organizations with more than 29 million likes, comments, and shares, according to CrowdTangle.

The second top-performing page belonged to Breitbart, a right-wing website that is largely supportive of the President and has close ties to the White House. Its Facebook page accounted for 9% of the total US media interactions over the last month with more than 20 million likes, comments, and shares.

The third best performing US news organization was CNN, with 7% of the interactions; the fourth was ABC News with 5%; the fifth was NPR with 4%.

When sorting by US political media, the data skews largely in favor of conservative news organizations, according to CrowdTangle. Six of the top 10 US political media pages belonged to conservatives.

Ben Shapiro, the prominent conservative news personality, generated more than 25 million interactions over the past month on his page, accounting for 29% of the total share from US political media on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle.

The second top US political media page belonged to Breitbart, with 23% of total interactions.

Other conservative outlets in the top 10 for US political media over the last month: The Western Journal in fifth with 4% of the total interactions; TheBlaze in seventh with 3% of the total interactions; IJR in eight with 2% of total interactions; and the Washington Examiner in ninth with 2% of interactions.

Trump and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly accused Facebook and other social media platforms of bias, painting the companies as villains in a longstanding culture war used to excite the conservative base.

Technology platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have banned certain users in the past for violating hate speech policies.

In a widely covered move, Facebook, YouTube, and Apple booted right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms in 2018 for violating hate speech and harassment policies. The companies maintained that they do not discriminate against users for their political beliefs.

But the nuance has been lost on Trump, Republican leaders, and members of the conservative media.

Republicans and right-wing media outlets have been all too happy running with the narrative that social media companies are censoring conservatives, regardless of the facts. Fox News, Breitbart, and other outlets have amplified claims that conservatives are under fire on social media platforms.

In addition to the president, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump Jr. have been among some of the Republicans to promote this narrative.

Claims of social media bias and censorship have also made their way to Congress. Lawmakers have held hearings on the so-called practice of “social media filtering” where right-wing personalties have been asked to testify about the discrimination they’ve supposedly faced at the hands of the companies.

The narrative is unlikely to go away anytime soon. The politicians and media outlets on the right that push it do not seem moved by the facts. Instead, they seem more interested in a narrative that resonates with and whips up the conservative base.

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Is This the Real Reason Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft Are Having Layoffs?

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Is This the Real Reason Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft Are Having Layoffs?

Are 51,000 people losing their jobs because their employers want to shift the balance of power? Is the current wave of big-tech layoffs really intended as a way of weakening tech employees’ confidence and gaining a stronger negotiating position for their employers? That’s what several tech industry …

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Fake Facebook profile leaves Nelson auctioneer stressed and worried

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Fake Facebook profile leaves Nelson auctioneer stressed and worried

Lipscombe Auction House owner Warwick Savage with a fake Facebook account using his name he is trying to get taken down.

Martin De Ruyter/Stuff

Lipscombe Auction House owner Warwick Savage with a fake Facebook account using his name he is trying to get taken down.

Auctioneer Warwick Savage didn’t have a personal Facebook profile.

But someone pretending to be him set one up, and that person, or persons stole his identity and amassed 1500 friend by Friday – the vast majority of whom were none the wiser the man on the screen was not who they thought he was.

The profile first came to the attention of the Nelson auctioneer late last week, when a friend of his stepdaughter’s commented that she had accepted Savage’s friend request: “and she said ‘he doesn’t have a Facebook page. He doesn’t have a Facebook profile’. So all of a sudden it came to the forefront.”

What was bizarre about the fake profile is how sophisticated it was: few of Savage’s close friends twigged when sent a friend request.

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The photos had been taken off the website of his business, Lipscombe Auction House, and the posts, promoting auctions, appeared legitimate. Lipscombe Auction House has a genuine Facebook page for the business and the fake and genuine pages looked similar.

On Friday after queries from Stuff meta removed the Facebook page for “for violating our policies”.

A spokesperson said it was “committed to safeguarding the integrity of our services, and worked hard to protect our community from fake accounts and other inauthentic behaviour.”

It continued to invest in AI to improve its enforcement and strengthen its review systems it said.

Someone has set up a fake account of auctioneer Warwick Savage and despite people contacting Facebook and telling them it was fake the social media company won’t take it down.

SUPPLIED/Nelson Mail

Someone has set up a fake account of auctioneer Warwick Savage and despite people contacting Facebook and telling them it was fake the social media company won’t take it down.

Savage was happy the page had finally been removed but frustrated it had taken so long for it to have occurred.

Savage had reported the profile to the police, who referred him to Netsafe. Multiple friends also wrote to Facebook asking for the page to be removed, only to receive the message that “ultimately, we decided not to take the profile down”.

“We take action on profiles that pose a danger to other people or that are harmful to the community,” the Facebook Support message read.

Savage said there should be more accountability from social media.

The profile appeared to have been uploaded on November 26, 2022, but the majority of the account activity had been this year, Savage said.

Several people who accepted his friend requests were Nelson City councillors, and other well known people in Nelson.

Someone has set up a fake account of Lipscombe Auction house owner Warwick Savage on facebook that now has over 1100 friends using information from his legitimate website.

SUPPLIED/Nelson Mail

Someone has set up a fake account of Lipscombe Auction house owner Warwick Savage on facebook that now has over 1100 friends using information from his legitimate website.

Before the media got involved Savage said there hadn’t appeared to be much interest from Facebook in doing anything about it.

“And I think it would be a huge worry for anybody. Because basically, they’ve stolen my identity.”

Savage said he was “obviously” concerned about reputational damage. But he was also concerned about having his business targeted.

“It all looks very harmless at the moment, but why would a person bother creating this to not have an end objective? Are messages going out to people there who are friends that aren’t nice messages?”

The situation has left him feeling “stressed”, he said, and particularly worried about the possibility of the person using his name posting something nasty.

“I don’t want to be going around trying to defend myself and Lipscombe’s to 1000 people,” he said.

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

One of George Santos’s biggest and most offensive lies was the one he told, on multiple occasions, about having grandparents who’d had to run for their lives during the Holocaust. In 2021, the then candidate claimed in a campaign video that his “grandparents survived the Holocaust.” Several months later, he told the Jewish News Syndicate: “I’m very proud of my grandparents’ story,” which he said included “fleeing Hitler.” Perhaps laying the groundwork for his explanation in the event he got caught in this specific fabrication, he told Fox News Digital in February: “For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in name of survival.”

Like so many things that have come out of Santos’s mouth, the one about his grandparents and the Holocaust does not, in fact, appear to be true, as multiple genealogy records indicate his grandparents were born in Brazil and, according to one genealogist who spoke to CNN, “There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way.” Perhaps another sign that Santos does not have family members who were hunted by Adolf Hitler? His alleged willingness to joke about Hitler killing Jews, and Black people too.

Patch reports that in March 2011, Santos commented on a Facebook photo shared by a friend showing “someone making what appears to be a military salute with the caption ‘something like Hitler’.” Commenting below, Santos allegedly wrote: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black mostly lolllolol!!! Dum.” A former friend told the outlet they recalled seeing the offensive comment, took a screenshot and sent it along. Patch says it also “verified through another former friend, Gregory Morey-Parker, that the original Facebook post under which Santos wrote the Hitler comment existed.” Presumably that will not be the case for very long. Morey-Parker, who was also once roommates with Santos, also told Patch that the newly sworn-in congressman would regularly make offensive jokes, typically about paying the bill for meals, “but he brushed it off saying he was Jewish. He’d always say that it was okay for him to make those jokes because he was Jewish,” Morey-Parker recalled. (Santos has copped to the fact that he is not actually Jewish, by insisting he never said he was. “I never claimed to be Jewish,” he said in an interview with the New York Post shortly after many of his lies initially came to light. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”)

In an email, Santos’s attorney claimed to Patch that the comment was somehow fake, writing: “the Facebook comment that you reference…is completely false, absolutely disgusting — There is absolutely nothing to talk about.”



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