'Right-wing media are (still) lying': Watchdog debunks conspiracy theories that Facebook censors conservatives

Reaffirming earlier findings, the media watchdog group Media Matters for America released a study Tuesday showing that contrary to Republican claims, Facebook is not censoring right-wing users or messages.


The group studied nearly 400 accounts focused on political news between July 2018 and March 2019, including pages reporting from a right-wing viewpoint, left-leaning pages, and pages purporting to deliver "non-partisan" news.

The research clearly showed, MMFA external affairs director Rebecca Lenn wrote on Twitter, that "Facebook is still not censoring conservatives."

Over 37 weeks, Media Matters found that right-wing pages had slightly more interactions than left-leaning pages, suggesting that Facebook could not be suppressing the accounts' ability to post content any more than it is with left-leaning pages.

Conservative accounts had an average of 372,000 weekly interactions during the time period MMFA studied, while progressive and liberal accounts averaged 369,000 interactions per week. Both left-leaning and right-leaning pages had far more activity than so-called centrist or non-partisan accounts.

Media Matters' latest report matched earlier findings in a July study, in which the group found engagement levels of right-leaning and left-leaning accounts to be roughly equal.

The study was released a day before a planned congressional hearing regarding "the supposed censorship of conservatives by tech companies," Lenn noted.

The report also pointed out that in recent weeks, ahead of a renewed push by conservatives including Donald Trump Jr. to convince the public and lawmakers that their views are being censored, right-leaning pages' interactions spiked.

"Between January 14 and March 17, the weeks leading up to this new wave of conservative censorship claims—right-leaning pages on average actually received more interactions than left-leaning pages," MMFA reported.

The group's findings directly contradicted Trump Jr.'s claim, published in The Hill on March 17, that companies like Facebook are excluding "outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives."

"Right-wing media are (still) lying about censorship," the group tweeted.

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