Zuckerberg Says Conservatives Don't Rule Facebook. Data Says He's Wrong.

"I don't think that the service is a right-wing echo chamber," Zuckerberg said in an interview with Axios. Facebook's own data shows otherwise.
September 9, 2020, 12:44pm
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Mark Zuckerberg says it's "just wrong" to consider Facebook a right-wing echo chamber driven by conservative voices. But data from his own company shows that’s exactly what Facebook is.

"I don't think that the service is a right-wing echo chamber,” Zuckerberg told Axios in an interview published on Wednesday. “I think that everyone can use their voice and can find media that they trust that reflects the opinions and the life experiences that they're having.”

Zuckerberg said there was a “meme” circulating online “that frankly is wrong, that says, OK, our algorithm is just trying to find things that are going to enrage people somehow, and that that's what we try to show people. [But] that's not actually how our systems work.”

But data from CrowdTangle, an analytics service owned by Facebook, makes it clear that Facebook’s most engaged content — the posts that get the most comments, likes, and shares — almost always comes from the right.

According to the @FacebookTop10 account, which is run by New York Times tech journalist Kevin Roose and uses data from CrowdTangle, the top-performing link posts by U.S. Facebook pages on Tuesday included Fox News, Franklin Graham, Donald Trump 2020 Voters, right-wing commentator Dan Bongino, and three posts from Ben Shapiro.

Data also shows that on Facebook, right-wing pages like Shapiro’s Daily Wire typically outperform some of the biggest names in U.S. media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

For years, conservative figures like President Donald Trump have claimed social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have been silencing their voices. But the data shows clearly that for years, right-wing voices have in fact been the most popular on Facebook.

And yet Zuckerberg continues to deny his platform has an issue and instead suggests that Facebook is simply providing a platform for opinions that mainstream media had ignored.

“Some people had found before that, that their experiences weren't being covered by traditional media, and now are able to find voices and follow them, that resonate more with their life experience. It's not clear to me that that's a bad thing.”

Cover: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about "News Tab" at the Paley Center, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)