Left-wing media are slamming Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for including “far-right” Breitbart News among one of its “trusted” sources in its soon-to-be unveiled “news tab.”
Zuckerberg announced in August his social media network is developing a new division of its site that will feature headlines and article previews to bolster content of “reputable” media partners, including the Washington Post, Bloomberg, USA Today, ABC News, and Wall Street Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones.
According to the The New York Times and Nieman Lab report, Breitbart will also be considered a “trusted” source included as one of its national partners. Left-wing media, which President Donald Trump and conservatives have long-claimed essentially act as an arm of the Democrat Party, are railing against Zuckerberg for classifying the right-of-center outlet, which has been frequently cited by President Trump, as a reliable and reputable news source.
The Verge’s Adi Robertson warns Breitbart is “a platform for the white nationalist alt-right” and should be eliminated as a source of trusted news because of its reputation among left-wingers.
“Breitbart has been criticized for repeated inaccurate and incendiary reporting, often at the expense of immigrants and people of color. Last year, Wikipedia declared it an unreliable source for citations, alongside the British tabloid Daily Mail and the left-wing site Occupy Democrats.”
“That’s led to questions about why Breitbart belongs on Facebook News, a feature that will supposedly be held to far tougher standards than the normal News Feed,” he continued.
Speaking in a question-and-answer forum with News Corp CEO Robert Thompson on Friday, Zuckerberg, whose social media platform notoriously bans and shadowbans conservative users and purges conservative-leaning websites, warily argued Breitbart should be included because “diversity” is imperative.
“Part of having this be a trusted source is that it needs to have a diversity of views in there, so I think you want to have content that represents different perspectives,” he told New York Times reporter Marc Tracy.
He then wavered on whether Breitbart would ultimately remain a trusted news source, noting, “having someone be possible or eligible to show up” doesn’t guarantee frequent placement,” he said.
While Breitbart will be included in its news tab’s algorithmic selection, it will be required to comply with Facebook’s common set of standards, Zuckerberg added.
Being eligible for the news tab’s algorithmic selections is “different from what the curators and the journalists who are picking the top stories necessarily choose as the most relevant thing to surface,” he continued.
Facebook has yet to unveil a complete list of news partners, but Breitbart isn’t the only conservative outlet slated to be included in the news tab, The Verge warns.
“Breitbart is hardly the only right-leaning name Facebook’s list, which includes National Review, The Washington Times, and News Corp’s own Fox News. But it has faced unique challenges to its editorial integrity — including, in recent years, some of Breitbart’s own former staff denouncing its policies,” the publication states. “Zuckerberg’s answer is unlikely to satisfy critics, who see the site’s inclusion as an example of Facebook surrendering principle to appease right-wing commentators.”
Breitbart’s current content on the platform made the outlet eligible, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
While Facebook will pay for a range of content from dozens of publishers, Breitbart will not directly profit from its partnership with the social media giant, the spokesperson added.
CNN, which is being sued by President Trump after the network’s CEO Jeff Zucker was caught in undercover video admitting the network is entirely devoted to impeachment, warns Breitbart publishes “misleading” stories.
“For those in need of a reminder, Breitbart is a far-right website with a history of publishing misleading stories about Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump. The site also has close ties to the Trump administration, and many of its employees have gone on to work in the White House,” CNN cautioned.
The network, notoriously known as “fake news,” asked “experts” to weigh in on whether Breitbart should be considered reputable.
“If Breitbart.com, which under Steve Bannon’s tutelage devoted itself to fraudulent inflammatory immigrant-hating claims, is ‘high quality,’ what’s low? Including Breitbart on [Zuckerberg’s] ‘news tab’ disgraces the name of news,” Columbia Journalism School Ph.D. chair Todd Gitlin told CNN.
“Why Will Breitbart Be Included in ‘Facebook News’?” The New York Times’ Charlie Warzel bemoans. “Breitbart’s inclusion suggests that it checked enough of Facebook’s boxes, despite its toxicity.”
Zuckerberg’s defense of Breitbart’s inclusion comes amid charges alleging Facebook aides Democrats in their opposition by banning conservative voices on their platforms.
The House Judiciary Committee launched a bipartisan probe in September, mandating Facebook turn over internal documents and communications to determine whether the company breached antitrust law by deliberately eliminating its competitors during the time frame they rapidly expanded.
Days later, virtually every state attorney general charged Facebook with antitrust violations and announced an investigation into whether the company used its conglomerate power to eliminate their competitors and stifle users.
In July, the Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust investigation into the entirety of the tech sector, Facebook noted in its second quarter earnings announcement.
Facebook is also facing a major legal battle waged by our very own Laura Loomer. In May, Loomer filed a suit against the tech giant charging the company with defamation after they permanently banned her from the platform and branded her as a “dangerous individual.”
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