A new kind of news cycle: Facebook to boost what users think is news

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Author Topaz ?
Collection Media Rules

Facebook is a dominant source of news for its billion plus users.  The media and political world was ruffled when tech website Gizmodo recently released a report that claims that Facebook suppresses conservative content.

In the article by Michael Nunez, a former journalist involved with Facebook's Trending Topics team claims that 38workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering

This report led the media to ask a lot of questions about the ethics of Facebook's news cycle creation. Even the Senate wants to know-- is Facebook purposefully suppressing conservative voices?

A contractor on the trending team told the Guardian this curation didn't happen.

Well, now we have answers from Facebook itself. The Trending Topics team has not purposefully curated its news in favor of a political party, says Facebook. Yet, according to Wired, the company has still decided to change how it approaches the news.

Previously, Facebook employees would boost a story in their Trending Topics section if it was popular in a specific news outlet, like The New York Times or Fox News. Yet now, according to Wired,106Facebook employees... will rely on what Facebook users are sharing and discussing to determine what’s deemed important news.107

This is a significant shift in the way that the news cycle is shaped.

While large media corporations are still huge headline-makers, a little bit of their power is starting to be chipped away by popular opinion.

Then again, does the general public know what's truly important? Only time will tell.

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