Last week, Facebook released its first report on “widely regarded content,” a document that was essentially the company’s response to numerous reports that the most engaging content on the platform usually comes from polarizing and potentially misleading conservative figures and media, including Newsmax , Fox News, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino. Last week’s report contradicted that, saying that top domains in the second quarter of 2021 contained more harmless content from YouTube, Amazon, TikTok, and a cat GIF from Tumblr.
But on Friday that New York Times released a report saying it had seen a “widely viewed content” report for the first quarter of 2021 and that it was showing mixed trends. For example, the most viewed link was a story claiming a Florida doctor died from the coronovirus vaccine. Facebook has now confirmed the accuracy of the document and approved it directly.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone went to Twitter to dig into the details of the report and said Facebook withheld the report because “there were important fixes to the system that we wanted to make,” but did not comment on what these corrections are.
Stone also delved deep into the misleading story that came from Florida, trying to explain Facebook’s decisions. “The news outlets wrote about the late doctor in South Florida. When the coroner announced a cause of death, the Chicago Tribune added an update to its original story; NYTimes not, ”he wrote on Twitter. “Would it have been right to remove the Times story because it was COVID misinformation? Of course not. Nobody is suggesting this, and neither is I. But it shows how difficult it is to define misinformation. “
As of the New York Times, Facebook has been trying to counter the pressure related to the things shared on its platform, especially regarding misinformation about COVID-19 and its vaccine. Much of this pressure comes directly from the US government. President Biden memorably said last month that Facebook was “killing people” with vaccine misinformation on its website, although he withdrew his testimony a little later.