Politics on Facebook is over… or almost. Taking advantage of the publication of its quarterly results, the firm announced through the voice of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, that political content was no longer really welcome on the site.
Facebook no longer wants to get involved in politics. When presenting its quarterly results, the company explained that it will reduce the reach of political groups on the platform to ensure that “the communities that people connect to are healthy and positive . ” Translation, political or activist content will no longer be recommended by the algorithm.
Already implemented in the United States following the various electoral controversies, this choice will be extended all over the world. This is not to push all political content into limbo on the web, but simply to make it less visible. “We will always allow people to participate in these groups if they want […] These are ways of organizing citizen movements […] but a lot of people tell us that they don’t want to see politics and arguments drown out the experience, ” Zuckerberg explains.
Discourage divisive conversations
The platform, which played an important role in the Arab Spring 10 years ago, now wants to “lower the tension and discourage divisive conversations ,” says the CEO. One of the ways we do this is obviously by removing groups that violate our rules of use […] But there are also a bunch of groups that don’t necessarily violate our rules that we don’t necessarily want to put forward ” , admits Mark Zuckerberg.
The choice comes at a delicate time for Facebook, which has long been under fire from critics, with the site supposedly censoring conservative views. Donald Trump, the former President of the United States, made a specialty of attacking Facebook or Twitter for their alleged bias . Zuckerberg therefore decided to clean up the whole thread regardless of the point of view to avoid further criticism. A philosophy quite far from the one he defended at the end of 2019 when he was worried about seeing “more and more people trying to define what is dangerous discourse” , because it could “lead to unfavorable political results” .