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They always lie. Are you really surprised?

By Crystal Vase

When news broke that Facebook has a narrative bias was anyone really surprised? Oh, they don't have a policy to suppress illiberal posts per se... Never trust a company that doesn't pay content creators.

No, they're too smart for that. They hide behind the unconscious bias. They simply hire their curators from progressive communities knowing they will follow the hidden agenda naturally. It's brilliantly passive aggressive.

They get to say they have no such policy and still get the result as if they do. Given how much data Facebook collects on its users how could they not notice the fact that certain ideas are more promoted on their network while claiming so vocally their neutrality?

It's hard to say what's scarier, if it was conscious or unconscious bias. If its conscious, then we can apply market pressure. Simply not use Facebook, but if its unconscious bias then it might be present in all tech companies that run from similar places.

[There is another area of recurring interference and that's the algorithms themselves as evidenced recently when Wikileaks released the DNC emails that showed bias against Bernie Sanders during the Democrat Primary. For some time Facebook was blocking links to their documents. They claimed it was an algorithm glitch...again. Although once pressure is applied they change, it seems obvious to anyone watching live that they only change when it doesn't matter anymore. Hardly the brave, open market advertised.]

This is the danger of self delusion. When we come to think of ourselves as part of the best culture so far, pride steps in to fill the gap between the illusion and reality. They look at the numbers which are a products of their framework and they see a liberal world confirming their own beliefs. It's so wonderfully circular. So self assuring and everyone loves being the centre of the current zeitgeist.

For years academics have debated whether the news reflects society or does society reflect the news. I think perhaps the Facebook scandal has revealed a third option. It's both. The media is a reflection of where its operating from and the community in which its employees live and then they broadcast that local bias to the rest of the country and world.

In Canada, with few exception, all the newspapers are owned by national interests and no longer illustrate the character of the markets they distribute to. This has been the case for at least a decade now, when Canwest began consolidating Canadian print assets owned by many people and families and then Postmedia continued after they collapsed. This is more likely the reason for the falling subscription base and the revenue that goes with it. News is best served regionally, but then the "hidden agenda" can't assert itself nationally. Dropping interest from the audience is a symptom of a deeper disease. Get it?

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Crystal Vase
Crystal comes from an island no-one can find on a map. She writes primarily about politics.

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