The United States of America is a nation that is bored. Yes, b-o-r-e-d. Don’t believe me? All you have to do is visit any of the social media sites and see what is trending, what people are talking about. Now, if you remove all sources with the word ‘Trump’ of ‘Hillary’, you are left with what people apparently think passes for news, for importance. Today’s topic? The father of social media, Facebook. An anonymous source apparently accuses Facebook of suppressing some conservative stories from the ‘trending now’ spot. Rather than question the source, everybody … well, 85% of everybody … has jumped on the bandwagon, assuming the ‘anonymous tipster’ to be perfectly legitimate, and gone ‘viral’ with their criticisms of Facebook … on Facebook!
First of all … if you depend on Facebook or any other social media outlet for your news, then you are pretty much getting only one side, if that, of the story anyway. Second, why would you believe this any more than you would believe that Jackie Chan has died … again … oh, but wait … most people do believe that every time they see it! Third, what does it matter if Facebook leans more to the left or right? Every news outlet does … think Fox (left-leaning) and Washington Post (right-leaning). Facebook is not in the news business, it is entertainment, pure and simple, and their goal is that which will earn them the greatest amount of followers. Nothing more, nothing less.
Even RNC chairman Reince Priebus and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune weighed in with Tweets and Twits. Do these guys really have nothing better to do? Facebook has denied that it is biased toward one party or another, and frankly, having seen plenty of ‘trending stories’ and ‘memes’ for both ideologies, I am inclined to believe them. However, it probably doesn’t matter, as the idea is now firmly planted in the minds of the public, and once planted, it will live there forevermore … or until something more interesting comes along, say a new video featuring Beyoncé.
But, of course, the public is not content to stick with the topic at hand, nor, God forbid, try to verify the veracity of the source. No … though the only allegation was that Facebook editors may have cut some conservative stories from the trending news feed, now Facebook users are claiming that their memes and posts promoting conservative values and candidates are disappearing. This, I can tell you, is definitely NOT true, as I see so many of them per day that I eventually log off Facebook just for self-preservation. Facebook is not hacking your account and removing your right-wing cutesy memes, my right-leaning friends. Trust me, they are still there in all their glory! Before long I fully expect people to start blaming Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for the disappearance of great-aunt Harriet and the swarm of cicadas in the garden.
Some have even given so much importance to this non-issue that they claim Facebook “could easily tip this year’s presidential election in one candidate’s favor.” If that is the case, and I seriously hope it is not, then that is a very sad statement about the American voter indeed. Facebook’s ‘Trending Topics’ is intended, loosely, to be a compilation of those stories that appear to be of interest to the most people on Facebook. If you want news, visit a news source, if you want entertainment, visit Facebook. The two are independent and as such, are not interchangeable.