Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., slammed Facebook after the New York Times reported that a post-election change to the platform's newsfeed algorithm favored outlets including CNN, The New York Times, and NPR.
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"Facebook throttling conservative outlets to decrease their readership ... #BigTech wants to control all news in America and soon will if we don’t stop them," Hawley wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
After the 2020 election, Facebook boosted the influence of its secret "news ecosystem quality" scores for publishers to combat viral misinformation, the New York Times reported citing anonymous sources at the company. As a result, posts from publishers like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats became less visible, according to the New York Times.
The report also detailed Facebook's internal experiments demoting "bad for the world" content. A "strong" approach to demoting so-called bad-for-the-world content decreased users' time on the platform and wasn't approved, according to the New York Times.
Facebook pushed back against Hawley and the Times' characterization in a statement to FOX Business on Tuesday.
"There are many variables at play in every product decision we make, all aimed at creating the best possible experience for people," Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement. "The assertions in this report are based on sources who have no product decision-making authority and are advancing their own narrow impression of how our process works."
Facebook has made improvements to its newsfeed since 2018 even though they have decreased users' time spent.
Hawley, a freshman senator, has painted social media giants as monopolies and repeatedly criticized them for labeling posts from the president and other actions since taking office in 2019.